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Five wait for £100m prison decision

Firms will find out this week whether they have been selected to bid for a £100 million prison scheme in Scotland as a further wave of projects get set for launch across the UK.

Contractors including Carillion, Interserve, Morgan Ashurst, Skanska and Irish outfit O’Hare and McGovern are understood to have expressed initial interest in bidding for the deal to design and build a new 700 cell prison at HMP Bishopsbriggs in East Dunbartonshire.

The Scottish Prison Service, which is client for the scheme, is understood to be on the verge of picking between three and five bidders to pitch for the project, which is due to start on site next summer provided the required planning permissions have been approved.

The Bishopsbriggs scheme will be the first of two major prison building projects in Scotland following a decision to give approval to a second scheme in northern Scotland.

The 500-place HMP Grampian scheme, which was given the green light earlier this month, will be built on the site of an existing prison in Peterhead.

The scheme, also provisionally valued at about £100 million, will replace the Peterhead facility and a second unit in Aberdeen.

Details of procurement of the scheme are still being worked out by the Scottish Prisons Service, which will go ahead with the project subject to receiving agreement on planning from Aberdeenshire Council.

In England, the Ministry of Justice has revealed it has plans to build two further new prisons as part of its plans to combat overcrowding.

A spokesman for the ministry told Construction News that it was exploring early plans to add a further two prisons to its project pipeline.

The spokesman refused to reveal the location of the projects, or whether they would be managed by the private or public sector, but said the service hoped to have contractors on board for each by early 2010.

Procurement is already under way on two new Private Finance Initiative funded prisons at Belmarsh and Maghull, while the Ministry is also planning to convert the former Ministry of Defence site at Coltishall in Norfolk into a category C prison.

Extensions of facilities at PARC, Forest Bank, Dovegate, Lowdham Grange and Bronzefield are also planned, to be delivered through the Prison Service’s eight contractor construction framework.