THE new Peterhead Prison is expected to receive its first inmates as early as 2014.
Work on the demolition of existing buildings and erection of a replacement prison with associated access, landscaping and car parking at HM Prison, South Road, Peterhead, was given the go-ahead last week.
Members of the Buchan area committee approved an application from Skanska, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, to carry out the work.
Members heard that the facility will be constructed to the south of the existing prison buildings on an area currently housing workshops and used for leisure facilities.
Peterhead South and Cruden Councillor Stephen Smith said: “I very much welcome plans for the new prison. The sooner we approve this work, the better.”
The existing facility will continue to operate while the prison is being constructed with construction due to commence in the summer, 2012 although preparatory works including demolition of the existing buildings should commence sooner.
Planning Officer David MacLennan said: “The new prison is expected to be operational by 2014. The community prison design will improve its appearance in the landscape.”
Upon completion, the existing facility will be demolished and the site cleared.
At this stage no firm proposals have been made for any future use which will require to be subject of a separate planning application.
Central Buchan Councillor Peter Chapman said: “It’s a very attractive building and the design has been given a considerable amount of thought. I welcome that.”
The new facility will be a 500-cell regional prison facility, unique in that it will be capable of holding different types of offenders in one location including male and female and young offenders.
The majority of the prison population is anticipated to be adult male. It is envisaged that the majority of prisoners will come from within the Northern Justice area and the facility will replace the current Prisons at HMP Peterhead and HMP Craiginches in Aberdeen.