Idea aims to breathe new life into prison

The former HMP Kingston Prison building in Milton Road, Portsmouth.
The former HMP Kingston Prison building in Milton Road, Portsmouth.

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PROPOSALS have been put forward to turn a prison into a community hub.

Kingston Prison, in Kingston Road in Milton, Portsmouth, was closed in March last year and no plans have been made about what to do with the Grade II listed building.

Now three people have come together and want to turn it into a community hub.

Behind the proposal is Christine Pollard, a former chairwoman of the independent monitoring board of the prison, Paul Sherry, chief executive of Champs Behaviours, and Nicholas McGeorge, a community mediator and former principal psychologist for Isle of Wight prisons.

After meetings and sharing ideas, they think the prison would be an ideal location for a community hub.

Mr McGeorge, 80, has said he believes the prison has been put up for sale by the Government and that this would be a great opportunity.

He said: ‘Christine, Paul and I have had meetings to discuss ideas for the prison. With our backgrounds, we can look at the location and premises and see what would be the best use of it.

‘We have drawn up a proposal to make the prison into a space to give people support and also be somewhere for young people who might be having trouble at school to come to. The facilities at the prison are great. It has a playing field, workshop, classrooms and kitchens which we could really make use of.’

Although the group has made plans for Kingston Prison, they admit a lot of work is required to move the proposal forward.

Mr McGeorge said: ‘This whole thing started out as an idea but the more we consider and the more back-up we receive, the more of a reality it becomes.’

He added that Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Lynne Stagg has shown an interest.