Buyer has yet to be found for Portsmouth prison site

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RESIDENTS have unveiled what they think should happen to Kingston Prison.

The 143-year-old jail, off Milton Road, Portsmouth, has been put up for sale by the Ministry of Justice in order to cut costs.

The former HMP Kingston Prison. Picture: Allan Hutchings (123520-273)

The former HMP Kingston Prison. Picture: Allan Hutchings (123520-273)

An online leaflet has been produced by agents Jones Lang LaSalle which says the 6.4-acre site ‘provides an opportunity to create a mixed use or residential lead development in the heart of Portsea Island’.

Bids are being considered for the prison but a buyer has yet to be found.

Natalie Offley, 18, of Cheslyn Road, Copnor, welcomed homes being built there.

‘We need more homes as it’s so overcrowded down here,’ she said.

‘In a way they could turn it into something for the homeless as well.’

Deborah Burns, 43, of Petworth Road, Milton, said: ‘There’s a constant need for more housing in Portsmouth.

‘It would need to be very carefully planned and thought through, and we have to consider the effect it would have on the local area.

‘For example, school places and the impact on doctors’ surgeries.’

Cllr Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic redevelopment, said he would like to see jobs being created.

‘The prison is not specifically protected as employment land, and so while a commercial use would be our preference, we cannot stop a housing-led scheme provided it respects the heritage of the site,’ he said.

‘The council would be more than happy to discuss options with any prospective developer.’

Meanwhile, Nicholas McGeorge, a former principal psychologist for Isle of Wight prisons, is part of a consortium looking to turn the prison into a community hub. But Mr McGeorge, 80, said he had not heard anything back from the government about its plans yet.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘We are working with a number of organisations, including the local authority, and assessing what is the best value for taxpayers.’