Former Blundeston Prison site is sold to homes builder for £3million
- Credit: Mike Page
A former prison site closed by the government as part of a cost-cutting exercise has been sold to a homes builder for £3m.
However, Lowestoft-based Badger Building has been told it must try to stick to government and council guidelines to create a 'mixed-use development', meaning it would be used for business, leisure and community purposes, as well as homes.
The future of the site has been up in the air for more than two years after the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) decided to close the 50-year-old, 24-acre jail despite local opposition.
However, residents have been keen to stress they do not want to see overdevelopment of the site.
Blundeston Parish Council chairman Graham Wade said: 'We only hope they abide by the plans that have been put in.
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'A bit of housing we can't refuse but we don't want it to be overdeveloped. We want it used as something for the village. We'll fight hammer and nail to limit housing on there – we've already got enough homes.'
Badger Building managing director Stephen George – who lives in Blundeston – said: 'We want to make sure what we build there is in keeping with what Blundeston wants.'
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The firm is now appealing for people to get in touch if they have a business or community group that might benefit from being located on the site.
However, he said that the company could not devise a blueprint for a mixed-use site unless those organisations come forward.
'Someone had to grab hold of the situation,' Mr George said.
'We're approachable and will listen to what anyone's got to say.'
Badger Building now plans to consult residents about what they would like to see there.
It is temporarily being used by the police for firearms and dog- handling training, although Mr George hopes to hold open days in the near future to show people around the site.
'The prison has been very much part of the village for several years and, along with many others, I was saddened by its closure,' he said.
However, he believes the open days will show people that the site was no longer fit for purpose as a prison.
'It is hoped a scheme will be ready for consultation with local residents by the summer,' he added.
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