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Fancy living in a converted prison? Plans revealed for historic Shepton Mallet site

Parts of a historic former prison in Somerset are to be turned into flats.

Shepton Mallet prison closed and the last of the inmates were moved out in 2013 when this historic building was sold off by the Ministry of Justice.

The developer which bought it has now applied for planning permission to convert the old cell blocks into rows of apartments - 146 homes in total.

Credit: Artist impression

We'll be knocking a number of cells together to make someone's apartment. In terms of the window, we'd be looking to lower the sills to get a lot more natural light into the room.

– Richard Winsborough, Head of Planning
How's this for a bedroom? Between five and six cells will be merged into one flat. Credit: ITV News

Shepton Mallet Prison has a long and varied history. It was the country's oldest working prison when it closed, dating back to 1610, and several of the buildings are Grade Two listed.

The Magna Carta and the Doomsday Book are said to have been stored there for safekeeping in the Second World War, the Kray twins spent time locked up in the cells, and there's even an execution chamber where American soldiers were hanged for murder when it was a US military prison in the 1940s.

Secure accommodation: a view inside the jail Credit: ITV News West Country

There has been some concern in the town that heritage could be lost.

The developers are promising to set aside a handful of cells as a visitor attraction with museum space and a cafe.

Watch the full report from our reporter Bob Cruwys on development plans for the former prison.

Last batch of cider made at mill

Shepton Mallet cider mill makes last batch Credit: ITV News

Production of iconic Somerset cider brands ceased production this week at the Shepton Mallet Cider Mill.

The Dublin-based C&C Group which owns the mill has now stopped the production of the Somerset ciders Addlestones, Blackthorn, Natch and Olde English. Production will now be at Clonmel in the Irish Republic.

The cider mill is due to close in the summer when production ceases and the pulped fruit is transported to Ireland – the first 40 redundancies have already been announced.

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Woman suffers sexual assault at supermarket tills

Police are appealing for the public's help to identify this man. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Police are appealing for the public’s help after a woman was sexually assaulted at the tills in Shepton Mallet.

They have released a CCTV image of a man who they believe may have information about the incident.

It happened inside the Tesco supermarket in Townsend Shopping Centre at around 11:15 am on Tuesday 30th June.

The man was described as wearing a black t-shirt and three quarter length trousers.

Shepton Mallet prison to close under 'super-prison' plans

Six prisons across the UK to close under 'super-prison' plans Credit: PA

The Ministry of Justice has said that Shepton Mallet in Somerset is one of six prisons that will close in England under plans to build a so-called super-prison.

It's the oldest working prison in the country.

Some 2,600 offenders are held at the prisons targeted for closure, plus three sites which will be partially shut down.

Prisons at Bullwood Hall, Canterbury, Gloucester, Kingston, Shepton Mallet and Shrewsbury will close, while Chelmsford, Hull and Isle of Wight will see some accommodation reduced.

A feasibility study on what would be Britain's largest prison in London, the North West or North Wales, holding more than 2,000 prisoners, is also to begin, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.

Government to close Shepton Mallet prison

The Government has announced Shepton Mallet prison in Somerset is one of several prisons to be closed across the country.

It's part of programme to update Britain’s prison estate and is part of the Government’s drive to build new capacity to replace older prisons and so bring down the cost of operating the prison system.

It is expected to save £63 million a year.

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School flooding: Council statement

Bowlish Infant School in Shepton Mallet was evacuated earlier due to flooding.

Somerset County Council has issued the following statement:

All 113 pupils were led to nearby Bowlish House because of the threat of floodwater inundating the school.

The headteacher acted on the advice of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service which had been called to a neighbouring property.

The Council has also sent a structural engineer to inspect a wall there. It is holding back water from the River Sheppey which is threatening the school.

All the staff, parents and pupils have acted in a calm manner, and a decision will be taken later today on whether to close the school tomorrow.

– Somerset County Council spokesman
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