A FORMER detention centre that has been in mothballs for more than a year will not reopen as a prison.
The Ministry of Justice have announced that Haslar Immigration Removal Centre – which was previously Haslar Prison – is not of use to the National Offender Management Service and has been fully decommissioned by the government.
The great waterfront location has the potential to attract economic investment into GosportCaroline Dinenage
The site was closed in March last year and transferred to the Home Office.
The government has now said that it believes it would not be structurally practical to use as a prison.
Jobs of the former detention centre’s employees were kept open while its fate was being decided, although they were housed elsewhere in the meantime.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage says it is a relief to finally know its fate.
She also wants clarification that current employees will not be made redundant.
Ms Dinenage said: ‘The great waterfront location has the potential to attract economic investment into Gosport and it’s been frustrating to see the site in mothballs for so long.
‘My main concern is the implications for staff and, although the minister has said that redundancies are not expected, I have asked him for clear assurances about their future.’
Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council hopes that the site does not become housing and instead employment in Gosport is created,
Cllr Hook said: ‘What I would not like to see is the area covered in houses.
‘I think if government establishments become available, we should be looking to have job creation.
‘If developers use their imagination, it could become something like a holiday village.
‘There is a lot of potential on the waterfront, which is accessible 24/7, to teach people water-sports like canoeing and windsurfing.
Cllr Peter Chegwyn, Lib Dem leader in Gosport, also rejected the idea of the site becoming dwellings.
He said: ‘It is all well and good having these homes in Gosport, but it’s pointless if there are no employment opportunities. We have to open it up and make use of its leisure facilities that are available.’