Will a Jailhouse Rock you?

Situated between the Welsh Mountains and the Dee Valley is the town of Wrexham in North Wales.

Wrexham has a fantastic heritage with the town being known for its Ironworks, Lead Mining and leather industry during the 18th century Industrial Revolution.

In September 2013 the Ministry of Justice announced plans for a super prison at the Firestone Industrial site. There were strong objections from residents in the community and councillors however the MOJ have just signed a £156.9m contract for the construction work to commence and are looking to take prisoners as early as 2017.

A perimeter fence is in place, levelling work has been carried out and the foundations have been dug for the first housing block.

The new prison will include education facilities and 12 large workshop spaces. It will hold 2106 Category C male offenders.

A Category C security level is given if any of the following criteria apply:

A previous sentence of 12 months or more for violence, threat of violence, arson, sex offences, drug dealing or importation.

Serving a current sentence of 12 months or more for violence, threat of violence, arson, sex offences, drug dealing or importation.

A history of absconding, failing to surrender or breaching a bail condition.

The prisoner has an outstanding confiscation order or further charges.1

With a prison being built nearby to a residential area, homeowners could potentially see their house value decreasing.

“At a development recently built overlooking Brixton jail, residents have found they have to keep their blinds closed all day,” says Jenny Insull, of Morgan Berry estate agents. “We are selling a two-bedroom flat at the top end of Lyham Road for £170,000. If it was further down the road near the prison it would only be £155,000.”

Wandsworth prison lies close to £1 million houses on the “Toast Rack” – a grid of streets off Trinity Road. The proximity of the prison, says Hugo Headlam of John D Wood, whose office looks straight over the wall, takes 5 to 10 per cent off property value. The worst-affected properties are a row of three-bedroom 1960s houses behind the prison which sell for about £250,000 – just about the cheapest property in the area.2

There was also a recent incident where there was an attempt to fly a drone packed with drugs, mobile phones, a screwdriver and a knife into Bedford prison. Fortunately the drone got stuck on the razor wire protecting the perimeter and prison staff managed to retrieve it. Who knows what some of these items would have been put to use for had they infiltrated the prison. Not to mention what might have happened had the drone not made it over the perimeter and been found by people hanging around outside.

If you are purchasing a home and wish to know what is happening in that area, from simple planning for extensions or for projects that might make you think twice, then you need Conveyancing Data Services – Know Your Location Planning report.

This report gives all planning applications made within a 500m radius of the subject property for just £12.00 inc VAT.

For further information and a sample Know Your Location report please contact Erica Willmott at [email protected].

References

1 http://www.inbrief.co.uk/prison-law/male-prisoner-categories.htm

2 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/advice/propertymarket/3321003/Market-watch-prisons.html

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