Council leader requests urgent meeting with Secretary of State about impact of new prison on rural district

Published Tuesday 9 January 2024


The Leader of Harborough District Council has written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to request an urgent meeting to discuss the impact of the prison development on communities in the Harborough district.

In his letter to The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Cllr Knowles, leader of the council, writes: “You will be aware that the council took King’s Counsel advice which unfortunately advised there was little chance of a successful judicial review. However, as Leader of the Council, I feel it important and necessary to ensure that if the prison is now to be built that the local community and our residents receive the very best possible support from the Ministry of Justice and Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

“At the very least residents expect new local infrastructure, enhanced community benefit and on-going involvement and engagement. Residents were also dismayed that two locally developed schemes that were included in the Section 106 [developer contributions] were removed due to not being considered CIL compliant (footpaths and community engagement scheme). At the very least I would hope that we can discuss these initiatives and agree their potential resurrection through separate agreement mechanisms and constructive discussion.

“I am sure that a development of this size and magnitude with its obvious longevity in the district can surely contribute to a range of measures that will make the local place better for the residents from the outset. I look forward to your response and the offer of a meeting..[…] preferably in Harborough so we can show you around the site and you can see firsthand the immediate locality and how it would be affected.”

On Wednesday 15 November the government announced The Secretary of State’s decision that the Appeal from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) should be allowed and permission should be granted for the new super prison, subject to conditions.