Gartree Prison Plans

Some people may be aware of proposals to build a huge new prison at Gartree but in relation to the details of the plans, there are confusing and sometimes conflicting rumours about just what is proposed.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) submitted plans to build a new mega prison, similar to the picture attached.

The new prison is planned to be 82,555 sq metres in size and if, like me, you have difficulty envisaging the size, this is equal to at least 14 football pitches.

It will also be tall and will have seven four-storey houseblocks, workshops and ancillary buildings and be built on a greenfield site just off the Foxton Road at Gartree. It will house 1715 inmates, and will be adjacent to the existing Gartree Prison not replacing it.

When presented to Harborough District Council planning committee in April, the proposal was unanimously refused by all district councillors because it went against the Harborough Local Plan and Lubenham Neighbourhood Plan.

At the same time the MoJ submitted an application to build an extension on the existing prison, to house a further 250 inmates in a new four-storey houseblock. This application was withdrawn but it is understood that will be resubmitted. Hence the confusion between the two plans – new prison or expansion. In reality probably both.

The MoJ are now appealing the decision of Harborough District Council against the New Prison. The appeal will begin in Harborough on Tuesday 4 October.

Gartree Action

A group formed by concerned residents, including Parish Councillors from Foxton and Lubenham, the surrounding villages and a number of residents from Gartree is working hard to present a case at the Inquiry.
MoJ representatives wrongly told some people at consultation events held in Lubenham and Foxton that, if not developed for a prison, the site would be used to build houses – this is completely incorrect and would also be contrary to the Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan as it would be development in the open countryside.
Most of the 700+ staff, who it is suggested will work there, will travel there by private car as there are no footpaths, no cycleways and a very limited bus service that will not fit to shift patterns. Staff are expected to come from a 40 mile radius, this includes Nottingham Derby, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Birmingham and Coventry.

What is Gartree Action doing?

The group has appointed a consultant and a barrister who will act for them at the appeal which starts on Tuesday 4 October; members are currently studying the numerous documents submitted by the MoJ that can be viewed on the Harborough District Council website, application number 21/01600/OUT.
Group members have met with Neil O’Brien MP who has raised the matter of building on this inappropriate rural greenfield site, close to Foxton Primary School, in the House of Commons. Support is also being given by Councillor Paul Bremner (HDC) and Councillor Phill King (LCC) and leader of the opposition for Harborough, Councillor Phil Knowles.
In order to pay the professionals, the group are digging deep in their own pockets as well as raising money through Go Fund Me –
For more details of other ways to donate or for more information, email Their fundraising target is £25,000 and currently funds and pledges stand at just over £18,000.
The group would also be pleased to hear from any professionals, who could help with reviewing any of the documents in order to put together their response to the appeal. If you have expertise in biodiversity, landscape planning, light pollution or any other related topic, please get in touch on 07885 143261 or
Diana Cook