Permission granted for new Buckinghamshire Prison

Prison 4712885 1920

Following a public inquiry in January 2023, the Secretary of State has granted planning permission for a new Category C Prison on land adjacent to HMP Springhill and HMP Grendon; in accordance with the recommendation of Inspector Lesley Coffey.

Despite concluding that the proposal was contrary to the development plan, both the Inspector and the Secretary of State accepted that the social and economic benefits of the scheme attracted significant weight, particularly noting the benefits of providing a higher standard of accommodation and facilities for both prisoners and staff. He also gave moderate weight to the contribution which the new prison would make towards meeting a regional shortfall of places, alongside sustainability, transport and biodiversity benefits. The Inspector and Secretary of State determined that, contrary to the Council’s case, there would be no impact on most of the identified heritage assets. The identified benefits of the scheme were sufficiently strong to outweigh the remaining identified heritage harms and the impact on the landscape and visual amenity – notwithstanding that the harm to the local character and appearance was recognised to be substantial. As such, it was considered that material considerations indicated that permission should be granted despite the conflict with the development plan.

A link to the decision can be found here.

Jenny Wigley KC and Matthew Dale-Harris acted for the appellant, the Ministry of Justice, instructed by Helen Robinson at Womble Bond Dickinson.

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