White Young Green appointed client representative on 480-place category B facility

A £100m prison is being planned for Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, as part of home secretary John Reid’s drive to expand prison accommodation.

Engineering consultant White Young Green (WYG) said this week that it had been appointed by Home Office Custodial Property to act as the client representative on the project. If it gets the go-ahead, it will be built next to an existing facility, HMP Littlehey, which has 706 category C places.

It is understood that Wates, which is one of the contractors on the prison framework, has been appointed to build the prison, although planning permission has yet to be granted.

The prison would have 480 category B places. According to WYG, the development would include classrooms, workshops, laundry rooms, offices and health and welfare facilities, but wherever possible would share services with the neighbouring prison.

It is envisaged that work would start on site this year and be completed in the summer of 2010.

Plans are at an early stage, with feasibility studies and an initial planning consultation under way. They have not been announced by Reid, who in February revealed plans for two other new prisons – in Maghull, near Liverpool, and next to Belmarsh prison in Woolwich, south-east London.

A spokesperson for the Home Office declined to comment on specific plans. He said: “Decisions about specific locations are still subject to site acquisitions and planning consent.”

• The former lord chief justice, Lord Woolf, this week warned that building more prisons would not solve the problem of the UK’s overcrowded jails. Woolf said it would be a costly quick-fix solution and that overcrowding would continue nevertheless.