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MoJ "committed" to Runwell prison

The Ministry of Justice has insisted it remains “committed” to building a 1,500-place prison at Runwell in Essex – despite withdrawing a planning application for the site this week.

MoJ Estates head of programme development Nicola Lowit wrote to Chelmsford Council this week saying the proposal would be resubmitted in due course. Read the letter here.

The prison was to be the first of five new prisons in England and Wales under former Labour government plans. The application was withdrawn after the council’s planning officer recommended it be rejected because the loss of the site for housing had not been mitigated against.

However, Ms Lowit wrote: “With support from the Homes and Communities Agency, we aim to resolve this issue as soon as possible.

“The Ministry of Justice remains committed to the proposal at Runwell. We intend to resubmit this application once the outstanding issue has been resolved.”

Contractors are still waiting to hear who will be on the framework to build the five new jails.

Seven contractor/operator consortia were shortlisted for places, but now fear the framework will be scrapped and replaced with a single contract for Runwell.