Residents Say No To Prison

More than 2,000 residents have signed a petition against plans to build a new prison in a Gwent town. Cwmbran townspeople have joined forces to campaign against proposed Home Office plans for a prison on the site of the town’s former Police training college in Greenmeadow.

In February, the Argus reported that the training college was one of a number of possible sites being explored. The Home Office said 8,000 additional prison places need to be created through a mixture of expansions at existing prisons and building a number of new prisons.

But even the suggestion that a prison could be coming to Cwmbran has caused outrage. Anita Barnard who is organising the petition says the location is just not suitable.

“The site is yards away from houses, a school and a residential home. It is totally inappropriate.” Mrs Barnard, who has lived in the area for the past eight years says that house prices would also be effected if the prison got the go ahead.

“Would we be compensated in the event of a prison being build, I don’t think so. “We need to gather people power because that’s the only way to get our voices heard.”

Torfaen politicians are also backing the campaign. AM Lynne Neagle, MP Paul Murphy and councillors Julianna Biggs and Mervyn Reece met residents in the area last week to gather support.

Ms Neagle said: “Let us hope that common sense prevails. The site here in St Dials is in a heavily residential area and I cannot imagine that anyone would consider that this is an appropriate place for a new prison.”

MP Paul Murphy added: “In discussions with the Home Office, I have made it very clear that whilst we recognise that a new prison will most likely come to Wales, we consider the St Dials site to be totally inappropriate.”

The petition is being displayed in various shops in the St Dials area.