Braintree council calls for clarity over plans to create two 'mega-prisons' at village airbase

The MoJ unveiled plans for the two prisons last year
The plans for the prisons Credit: MoJ

A council is calling for greater clarity from the Government over plans to build two new prisons on a nearby airfield site.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) wants to build what protesters have described as two 'mega prisons' at the former Wethersfield airbase near Braintree in Essex.

The original announcement led to protests by residents, claiming that the scheme would lead to ten years worth of disruption.

The plans led to protests in the village of Wethersfield

Now Braintree District Council says that since the public consultation ended late last year, information about the scheme has dried up.

The council leader is writing to the Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab calling for an update as soon as possible.

In a statement the council said: "Over a year has gone by since the MoJ announced their proposed plans to build two prisons on the Wethersfield airfield site.

The council and local communities are still waiting on a decision whether the MoJ are going to submit a planning application for the proposals or not.

“We share resident’s frustration on wanting answers about the MoJ’s intentions on the prison proposals. It is not fair for our local communities to continue to face the current uncertainty."

The council says it wants the MoJ to update the community as soon as possible.

Local campaigners have objected to the scheme on the grounds that the location is not suitable due to accessibility issues and concerns about the road and environmental impacts.

The council said it had to remain impartial due to its future role in any potential planning application coming forward but said: "We recognise it has now got to the point, over a year since the MoJ’s public consultation, where we need answers and clarity to stop the uncertainty continuing to hang over our communities."

The MoJ's website says that feedback from the consultation - which ended on November 8 2021 - would be uploaded when available.

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