Decision set to be made over Full Sutton prison ditch proposals

Plans for a watercourse wildlife habitat ditch on a site in Full Sutton earmarked for a new 1,440 capacity prison are set to return for a decision this week.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 2:30 pm
An artist's impression showing how a 1,440 capacity prison planned at HMP Full Sutton could look.
An artist's impression showing how a 1,440 capacity prison planned at HMP Full Sutton could look.

East Riding Council’s Planning Committee is set to decide on the Ministry of Justice plans for the ditch, on the site of the proposed prison off Moor Lane, this Thursday (March 18).

The return of the plans follows a Ministry consultation undertaken after councillors heard in January one promised following the granting of outline permission in 2019 had not taken place.

The Ministry submitted plans for the ditch to replace an existing one to be removed once building goes ahead and to provide a habitat for protected water voles.

The consultation, which received 446 responses while open in February, showed concerns remained over the ditch preventing proper screening of the prison and its impact on the environment.

Objectors also claimed the consultation itself was “insufficient” and opposed the Ministry’s “piecemeal” approach to submitting individual applications for the ditch and other features.

Around 62 per cent of respondents, 279, opposed the building of the prison entirely on moral, social and environmental grounds.

The Ministry stated it had undertaken protected species surveys and that the ditch was designed to offer “biodiversity improvements” at the site once the existing one is moved.

They added it had also been designed so water levels could be controlled in response to flooding concerns and it would only encroach slightly in areas earmarked for landscape screening.

Officials also stated the new ditch had to be built because the existing one would have to be filled in to make way for the new prison.

The Ministry stated there was “no evidence” land at the site was contaminated by nuclear waste and that archaeological surveys had been done to look for unexploded historic bombs.

It also defended its approach to the application process, stating it had been “very happy” to undertake a consultation despite not initially believing one was needed on the ditch.

The plans come as part of a £2.5bn government push to create 10,000 extra prison places and modernise estates in the next five years.

The new Category C prison, set to be next to the village’s existing maximum security HMP Full Sutton, would be the first of four to be built.

Article by Joe Gerrard, Local Democracy Reporting Service