28 new cells could be added to Holme House Prison

Inside Holme House Prison
-Credit: (Image: Evening Gazette)

A Teesside prison could have more than 20 new cells under plans being considered by Stockton Council.

The Ministry of Justice has submitted the plans for 28 cells to the local authority, as part of a £4bn national scheme to build, expand and refurbish jails. It intends to build on a 0.2-hectare site in the Holme House prison complex, where a small office building will be demolished under a separate plan.

The proposed developments also include 152 places at Kirklevington Grange Prison in Yarm. This will make a total of 172 more beds in Teesside's jails. It is understood no more staff will be brought in to support them, according to one report sent to the council, but the Prison Service has said it does not recognise this.

The Holme House proposals detail 20 "rapid deployment cells" and eight "ancillary units", with a plant room, fencing, office space, kitchen, seating areas at the Category C men's prison. In a supporting statement, agents Cushman & Wakefield say: "Rapid deployment cells are designed to meet short-term prison population pressures while permanent and long-term accommodation is being built.

"The units offer a flexible capacity solution that can be deployed at pace across the prison estate. The units will be modern, decent, and offer the prison a good option to manage their progressive regimes (independent living for risk assessed prisoners).

"Additional units will help to support inmates physical and mental wellbeing through short-term prison population pressures or maintenance and refurbishment projects. The proposed modular units will provide additional accommodation for the existing prison population. A similar scheme implemented to tackle Covid-19 cases has been successful and resulted in improved inmate wellbeing."

Inside Holme House Prison
Inside Holme House Prison -Credit:Evening Gazette

They hope the council will give the scheme a "certificate of lawfulness", meaning it would be "permitted development" so would not need planning permission. It is part of an MoJ prison expansion programme to deliver 20,000 more prison places nationally as the total prison population is projected to rise to more than 100,000 by the end of November 2025.

A report from environmental consultants Enzygo says: "At Holme House the preferred option is to replace a ‘Covid 19 office’ building and a ‘PPE storage shed’ with new RDCP (rapid deployment cell programme) units to accommodate 20 additional prisoners."

It outlines the proposed 172 beds of "inmate accommodation" on Teesside - 152 at Kirklevington Grange replacing demolished blocks, 20 at Holme House. The population number was considered "worst case", with the report adding: "It is understood that staff numbers will not increase to support either of the two developments." The Prison Service has said it does not recognise these claims.