A SUPER PRISON for which Denbighshire was once in the running has been confirmed for Wrexham.
It is expected to create 1,000 jobs across the North East Wales region, and boost the regional economy by up to £23m.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling MP announced that the 2,000 inmate super-prison will be built in on the former Firestone site on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
Work on the £250 million jail – which will be the biggest prison anywhere in England and Wales – will begin next summer, pending planning approval.
It will be the first ever prison in North Wales and will be fully operational by late 2017.
Mr Grayling said: “It will provide a real boost to the local economy in North Wales over the next few years.”
Two Denbighshire sites were shortlisted as possibilities for the new prison - the Greengates site in St Asaph and the former North Wales Hospital in Denbigh - but both sites were ruled out earlier this year as being too small, or not having not enough land available, and not having a clear run for planning in the case of the latter.
Secretary of State for Wales David Jones MP said: “The case for a prison in North Wales has always been strong.
“The construction of this much needed facility will bring with it considerable economic benefits for local businesses, and create up to 1,000 employment opportunities across the region.
“It will also benefit prisoner welfare by allowing Welsh speakers more opportunity to speak the language in an environment where its cultural significance is understood.”
Labour Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said: “Our region does not currently have any facilities to house local prisoners and my constituents in Clwyd South who have family in prison currently have to travel a long way to HMP Altcourse in Liverpool to visit them.
“Importantly, I feel this could help reduce crime rates in North Wales as the odds of re-offending are 39 per cent higher for prisoners who do not receive regular visits.”
“As well as a much-needed jobs boost, the building of the biggest jail in Britain will present huge opportunities for local businesses and provide millions of pounds worth of construction work,” he said.
Lib Dem North Wales AM Aled Roberts added: “We now have to look at the detailed proposals to ensure that supplies and services are sourced from within North Wales during construction and in the long term.
“Plans need to be drawn up now to give local people training opportunities so they can apply for jobs at this new prison.”