MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING OF ABENBURY COMMUNITY COUNCIL HELD ON 19th September 2013 AT ABENBURY COMMUNITY CENTRE

 

 

PRESENT: Councillor R Squire (in the Chair)

Councillors, C G Marsh, I Squire, M Roberts, E Williams, TAG Williams and P Done

 

APOLOGIES: Michael Morris (Wrexham CBC)

 

ALSO PRESENT: Clerk – W S Nott, PCSO Luke Dobby

 

40 PROPOSED PRISON

 

The Chair welcomed a large attendance of local residents and explained that he was going to open the meeting for questions, comments and issues that the residents wished the Council to raise with the Ministry of Justice and Wrexham Council representatives who would be attending later in the evening.

A number of Members of the Council indicated to the Clerk that they felt that they may have a prejudicial interest once the Planning Application was brought before the Council and asked him to apply, on their behalf, for formal dispensation so that they were able to discuss and vote on the application.

 

Members of the public then raised issues, commenting on the presentation by the MoJ at Redwither Tower and expressed both their concerns and opposition to the proposal.

 

In summary the following points were made for raising with the MoJ representatives –

 

• Concern over the problem of the local County Councillor being a member of the Planning Committee

• There was no local support for the Prison

• Concern over the ground quality vis a vis it’s former use both as a tyre factory and as a munitions factory. Particularly should carcinogenic material be disturbed

• Light and noise pollution

• Consultation during the planning process

• What was the rationale for putting the prison on an industrial estate

• What security would there be, not just against the possibility of an escape but also from large volumes of visitors, also how many have escaped this year?

• What safeguards will there be for the local community when prisoners are released

• If built to a category B level will it house category B prisoners and what is the process for changing the category?

• Major concerns about whether sufficient thought had been given to the infrastructure capacity. This not only covered the number of traffic movements outside the prison but also down Cefn road and other routes from the town centre. Similar concerns over the lack of public transport and cycle routes. Can Five Fords cope with the additional sewerage?

• Can local schools, hospitals and doctor surgeries cope with the additional people

• The ecological impact on what has been a natural area for the past 30 years

• What level of screening will there be?

• Concern over the waste of public money with the fencing of the site prior to the obtaining of planning permission

• Will the MoJ buy property on the estate if people want to move out?

• Will there be a reduction in Council Tax?

• Will there be any local jobs?

• How would they be safequarded for the local community?

• Have Local SMALL businesses been asked for their views?

• How many job losses will there be as a result of businesses moving away?

• Should the Prison go ahead what support would the Ministry and Council give to “social conscience” projects?

At 8.00pm the meeting was joined by Mr Neil Caves, Programme Manager MoJ and Mr Lee Robinson, Director at Wrexham CBC. Apologies were given for Cllrs Neil Rogers and Hugh Jones who were unable to attend.

 

The Chair welcomed the representatives and indicated that the Council had noted considerable opposition to the Prison and had synthesized the issues raised and would put those to them with the public being able ask supplemental questions.

 

The representatives then gave, where they could answers to the questions. (summarised in italics)

 

• Concern over the problem of the local County Councillor being a member of the Planning Committee –Not something they could comment on

• There was no local support for the Prison – noted

• Concern over the ground quality vis a vis it’s former use both as a tyre factory and as a munitions factory. Particularly should carcinogenic material be disturbed – any contamination would have to be dealt with as part of f the planning applicationand development

• Light and noise pollution –Would be considerate as part of the building and when operational would be set back from the road so would be minimised

• Consultation during the planning process – need to check but had no problems in coming back to a public meeting if that was not in conflict with the Planning process

• What was the rationale for putting the prison on an industrial estate -suitable site and met criteria

• What security would there be, not just against the possibility of an escape but also from large volumes of visitors, also how many have escaped this year? –built to Category B level as an all male Training prison so prisoners would work and be trained, only 1 escape from a prison in last year. Research shows drop in crime in vicinity of prison

• What safeguards will there be for the local community when prisoners are released –out on licence with support

• If built to a category B level will it house category B prisoners and what is the process for changing the category? – Secretary of State has to authorised any change of designation

• Major concerns about whether sufficient thought had been given to the infrastructure capacity. This not only covered the number of traffic movements outside the prison but also down Cefn road and other routes from the town centre. Similar concerns over the lack of public transport and cycle routes. Can Five Fords cope with the additional sewerage –All needs to be provided as part of planning application support information

• Can local schools, hospitals and doctor surgeries cope with the additional people – believed so

• The ecological impact on what has been a natural area for the past 30 years –important consideration with ecological plan as part of process, high class nature reserve to be built on the remainder land hopefully handed to charity such as ground work to maintain at high level

• What level of screening will there be? –part of planning application but balance between concerns of residents and security

• Concern over the waste of public money with the fencing of the site prior to the obtaining of planning permission – note, but incurred to safeguard the site

• Will the MoJ buy property on the estate if people want to move out? No

• Will there be a reduction in Council Tax? – No

• Will there be any local jobs? – Yes there will be some safeguards

• How would they be safeguarded for the local community? – could be discussed further

• Have Local SMALL businesses been asked for their views? – some but not all as not all businesses are members of the Forum. Felt that there is support from businesses on the estate

• How many job losses will there be as a result of businesses moving away?- not expecting any.

• Should the Prison go ahead what support would the Ministry and Council give to “social conscience” projects? –Would need to give some thought to this

 

38 DATE AND TIME OF NEXT MEETING

 

The next Ordinary Meeting would be on MONDAY 7th October 2013 at 7.00 pm at Abenbury Community Centre.

 

 

 

39 DURATION OF MEETING

 

The meeting began at 7.00 pm and ended at 09.00pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signed__________________________ Date______________

 

 

SN23/09/2013

 

Filed under: Previous Minutes