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Government confirms Rochester Prison will close in 2019 as part of £1.3bn upgrade programme

PUBLISHED: 09:13 28 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:13 28 July 2017

Prison

Prison

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The timeframe has been welcomed by local MP Kelly Tolhurst

Rochester Prison will close in 2019 as part of the government’s £1.3bn programme to transform the estate, chiefs have confirmed.

Former justice secretary Liz Truss announced earlier this year the Medway jail would be redeveloped as part of a commitment to build up to 10,000 modern prison places by 2020 and tackle overcrowding, but timings were still subject to discussion.

Now, prisons minister Sam Gyimah has confirmed the site will close in two years’ time, to ensure officers and staff will be given the necessary support and advice during the process.

Next year, the Ministry of Justice will begin to work with the Rochester community as it launches its planning application and a full public consultation on how the prison can benefit the area. Importantly, the proposals will go through all of the local planning processes and bosses insist that residents will be consulted with at all stages.

Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst says she will actively monitor the development and ensure there are minimal impacts on the residential area.

“I am delighted the government has laid out this timeframe and commitment to our prison staff and community in Rochester, and I look forward to the joining residents in the consultation process,” she said.

“The redevelopment of our prisons is hugely welcome as we move towards combating overcrowding and providing a modern and fit for purpose environment for inmates and staff.

“But in doing so we must not forget the interests of the dedicated prison officers at Rochester who deserve assurances that their and their families’ futures will be secure.

“I am therefore standing ready to support them over the coming months in any way I can.”

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