MP welcomes plan to rebuild Ford Prison

Flashback to the riot at Ford Prison
Flashback to the riot at Ford Prison

AN MP has welcomed plans to redevelop Ford Prison, following the New Year’s Day riots.

The Ministry of Justice has submitted a planning application to Arun District Council, which would see an amenities block built to replace facilities burnt to the ground by inmates who went on the rampage soon after seeing in the new year.

MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, Nick Gibb, said it was “good news”.

“I am obviously very pleased that the Ministry of Justice is rebuilding the amenity block for the prison,” he said.

“The prison provides very useful jobs for the area, and I am certain that we would all prefer an open prison on that site, rather than any other kind of facility.”

The riots, which turned the usually quiet Ford Road into an international media circus, caused around £3million of damage.

There were some concerns that the facilities lost would not be replaced, as government cuts in the prison service loomed, but the application was made last week.

A design and access statement, submitted as part of the application, states: “The building is required to reinstate essential facilities lost in the 2010/11 incident.

“The facilities provide for the well-being of the prisoners, including exercise, learning and recreation areas.

“In addition, an induction facility will assist the transition into confinement.”

It went on to say the proposed building would be single storey, and in-keeping with the existing structures.

Violence erupted at Ford after inmates refused to be breathalysed by guards.

About 40 prisoners set fire to buildings and smashed windows, as warders were forced to flee, and specialist teams in riot gear were sent in.

The disturbance, which inspectors later blamed on low staffing levels and the ease with which inmates could take alcohol on site, was not brought under control until about 10pm.

To view the application, reference number F/13/11, go to www.arun.gov.uk