Residents' plea for fast-growing Leylandii to help screen new East Yorkshire 'mega' jail

They have often been a cause of neighbour disputes, but residents are urging the Ministry of Justice to plant fast-growing Leylandii to help screen a massive new jail in East Yorkshire.

The Category C jail will house up to 1,440 inmates and be built next door to HMP Full Sutton, a maximum security prison with a capacity of 608

The Category C jail will house up to 1,440 inmates and will be built next door to HMP Full Sutton, a maximum security prison with a capacity of 608.

The plans were given outline planning consent in 2019, despite 3,300 objections.

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But they are back before councillors on Thursday for so-called “reserved matters” approval, including landscape and layout. Officers are recommending approval.

The lay out of the proposed jail

At a pre-planning meeting on Monday Dr Fiona Roberts asked councillors to defer a decision for the MoJ to improve its landscaping plan, which includes 17,700 trees and shrubs.

She said the village of Full Sutton would bear the brunt of the proposals, which include 16-m high six accomodation blocks, the size of three and a half double-decker buses, which would “stand out like a sore thumb” on the low-lying landscape.

The MoJ is proposing a bund up to 3.5m high, but she asked the committee to increase that to 10m, with an acoustic fence on top, as well as adding far more evergreen trees and a single row of Leylandii. The coniferous evergreens have been known to grow to nearly 50ft in 16 years.

Coun Leo Hammond said he could see the current jail from Yapham five miles away, and those living just 300m away would be badly affected by light pollution from the much larger prison.

He claimed the MoJ had “not even met us half way” in resolving issues.

A report to councillors says a small number of properties nearby will be subject to “major” or “moderate” effects initially, but the planting will “substantially screen” views of the prison as it matures. While it would be possible to plant a belt of quick-growing conifers, it wouldn’t have as much benefit long-term as a mainly deciduos native scheme.

Town planner Nick Hardy, for the MoJ, said a 10m high bund was “simply not possible” but some changes had been made following consultation.

They had increased the proportion of evergreen trees from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, and also the number of mature trees being planted.