Wildlife habitat ditch on site of proposed 1,440-capacity Full Sutton prison approved

A wildlife habitat ditch on the site of a proposed four storey prison has been approved amid claims residents’ concerns were not taken “seriously”.

HMP Full Sutton

East Riding Council’s Planning Committee passed Ministry of Justice plans for ditch, on the site of a proposed 1,440 capacity Category C prison in Full Sutton, nine votes to three.

The ditch, replacing an existing one home to water voles, and new prison would be built next to the existing HMP Full Sutton in Moor Lane.

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Mr N Hardy, who spoke for the Ministry, told the committee detailed plans on the prison itself would feature landscaping including tree planting following concerns from residents about screening it.

He added consultations held with residents so far had been “invaluable” in drawing up future reserve matters plans which will set out the design and scale of the prison.

But resident and objector Mrs F Roberts told councillors public consultation had so far been “inadequate”, with one meeting held and 29 households invited with just four days’ notice.

Coun Leo Hammond, of Wolds Weighton ward which covers the site, said a soil bund was needed on the site’s western boundary to protect residents from prison.

The councillor added the Ministry had not “made serious efforts” to address concerns around screening, environmental impact and traffic.

Mr Hardy told the committee: “The Ministry will from now on engage with the community with a quarterly newsletter and a monthly stakeholders’ call, two of those calls have been held to date.

“We had 450 responses to our online exhibition of the plans which suggested it was effective, as well as direct conversations with ward councillors and we plan to send the newsletter out through Royal Mail after some households didn’t receive it.

“There will be some minor encroachment from the ditch but this will be compensated for by additional tree planting. When reserve matters come forward they are expected to show an increase in landscaping.”

Mrs Roberts said: “The consultation was done in a minimalistic manner, none of the houses to the west of the site.received the newsletter. We believe a soil bund on the west of the site would reduce the impact of this flood lit floor storey development in rural Yorkshire.”

Coun Hammond said: “I and residents are not particularly satisfied with the meetings the Ministry held. Current landscaping doesn’t go far enough, the nearest resident is only 200 metres away from one of the four storey cell block.

“The Ministry has said a soil bund would not be financially viable, this is unacceptable. They have made it clear they have no interest in listening to residents, they haven’t made serious efforts to address the issues raised.”

Wolds Weighton ward and committee member Coun David Rudd said: “I went to the consultations and I found them extremely democratic and well attended. I don’t see a great deal of problems with this, there will be further meetings where all aspects of this will be discussed.”

Committee chair Coun David Tucker said: “I can see the concerns of my colleagues and of the objectors. Landscaping will come back at the reserve matters stage, so I have no hesitation in support these plans now.”