Ministry of Justice to appeal £300m mega prison plans in Aylesbury Vale rejected by Bucks Council

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is preparing an appeal to Bucks Council’s decision to reject the construction of a mega prison costing £300 million.

By James Lowson
Friday, 27th May 2022, 12:52 pm

Buckingham MP Greg Smith revealed yesterday (26 May), that MoJ hadn’t given up on this ambitious project.

This morning, an official from the MoJ, confirmed to The Bucks Herald, that Mr Smith’s statement was correct, and an appeal will be launched before the September deadline.

The plans state that the prison would be constructed in the countryside in Grendon Underwood, by Aylesbury and Buckingham.

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Bucks Council releases statement after rejecting £300 million mega prison near A...

If approved on appeal it would be a category C prison, for ‘resettlements’ and will cover up to 67,000sq m.

Two other prisons are already in operation in that part of Aylesbury Vale, Grendon (Cat B secure) and Springhill (Cat D open).

Two existing prisons, near to the proposed site

The mega prison plans were met with strong opposition from the outset.

When the application was active on Bucks Council’s planning portal it received 470 objections.

After the council declined the plans in March protesters could be seen celebrating the results.

Complaints related to potential noise pollution, increased traffic, loss of privacy and sense of security.

Buckingham MP Greg Smith and others celebrating when the application was rejected in March

Also, loss of more green space, its sheer size, the potential effect on wildlife, and the ‘destroyed quality of life’ for locals.

Numerous parish councils opposed the plans, including: Edgcott Parish Council, Grendon Underwood Parish Council, East Claydon Parish Council, Steeple Claydon Parish Council, Gawcott with Lenborough Parish Council, Marsh Gibbon Parish Council, Middle Claydon Parish Council, Calvert Green Parish Council, and Charndon Parish Council.

Mr Smith tweeted yesterday: “Deeply saddened @MoJGovUK are appealing @BucksCouncil decision to refuse planning permission for a new mega prison near Grendon Underwood and Edgcott.

"This prison is simply wrong, not least in a community under siege from HS2. I stand firmly with residents to fight this appeal.”

Bucks Council Leader Tweeted in agreement with the Buckingham MP, saying: “Completely agree. Wrong proposal, wrong place.”

Councillor Alan Turner, who chaired the meeting in which the plans were voted down unanimously, said at the time: “After careful consideration the Committee felt that the combined effects on the local area in terms of sustainability, heritage and the environment would have an overriding negative impact.

"There was also a feeling that not enough consideration has been given to alternative sites which could be more suitable for such a facility.”

An MoJ spokesman told The Bucks Herald: “After careful consideration we have decided to appeal the decision to refuse planning permission for our new prison.

“We will continue to work closely with Buckinghamshire Council and the local community on our proposals.”

The MoJ hopes the prison could also provide benefits to members of the local community, creating new jobs and encouraging investment in the area.