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Bids are under scrutiny for the future of Portsmouth prison

Kingston Prison in Portsmouth

Kingston Prison in Portsmouth

 

BIDS for taking over Kingston Prison have gone in, despite speculation that no-one was interested the historic site.

The government has confirmed it is scrutinising a number of proposals put forward by organisations interested in taking over the building in Portsmouth.

But it has not confirmed how many or what the nature of the plans are.

It comes after the deadline for those wanting to express an interest in the 143-year-old premises ended.

Rumours had surfaced no-one had expressed an interest and the government was considering selling it off as a joint package with Dorchester Prison.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘We’re considering bids for the future use of HMP Kingston.

‘We’re working with a number of organisations, including the local authority, and assessing the best value for taxpayers.’

The spokesman said the government was not working to a deadline and nothing will be revealed until it goes through each bid.

Ukip ward councillor Steve Hastings said the situation had dragged on and things needed to happen as soon as possible.

‘This needs speeding up. It’s been dragging on for far too long,’ he said.

‘What will happen to the site, I really don’t know.

‘We have immense difficulties already in the area with building and new home plans and have just had the Fratton Park Tesco application.’

Cllr Hastings said he could envisage more homes being built there, but recognised there were already plenty of sites being swallowed up by new property developments.

Cllr Aiden Gray, Labour group spokesman for planning, regeneration and economic redevelopment, said there was a lack of smaller homes in the city and the site could be a good place for them.

He was referring to the fact residents are seeking to move into one and two-bedroom homes to avoid paying the spare room subsidy.

‘People are being squeezed by the bedroom tax,’ Cllr Gray said.

‘It’s a terrible shame Kingston Prison has been left for such a long time. It’s an incredible building in the city.

‘Something should have been done about this much sooner, like anything else in the city it needs to be put to good use.’

As previously reported in The News, the prison has been on the market since January after the government confirmed in 2013 it was being closed to save money.

 

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