THE consultation period over plans to build a prison in North Wales has been extended by a month after local councils called for more time to draw up their submissions.
Letters supporting and opposing the creation of an 800-strong medium security jail in Wrexham and Caernar-fon were supposed to be with the Government by the end of today but will now be accepted until November 28.
Last night Wrexham MP Ian Lucas, who is strongly opposing proposals to use the former Firestone factory site within his constituency, criticised the local council for failing to make any decision.
“This is make your mind up time. My position is a matter of record. Wrexham council needs to show some leadership on this,” he said.
Glyn Hughes, head of services for children and families at Gwynedd Council, yesterday openly backed plans for a local prison, saying young offenders were being sent hundreds of miles away to be locked up and were often told they were not allowed to speak Welsh on the phone home because those in charge ‘need to know what they are saying’.”
Last year the cross-party Welsh Affairs committee produced a report calling for a prison in North Wales to boost rehabilitation rates by making it easier for families to visit their relatives.
Hywel Williams, Plaid’s Caernarfon MP, said: “This clearly shows that the Minister is giving serious consideration to all sites concerned and that this is a real consultation with real value to it.
“I will be continuing my campaign to have Caernarfon chosen as the site of the next prison.”
Prisons minister and MP for Delyn David Hanson said: “The location of a new prison in Wales is an important decision and I consider it right to allow more time for comments.”