Somerset

Shepton Mallet prison sale process 'frustrating' says bidder

HMP Shepton Mallet Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption HMP Shepton Mallet was among seven prisons in England to close

A businessman hoping to buy a former Somerset prison building 18 months after it closed has described the process as frustrating and lengthy.

Shepton Mallet is one of seven prisons closed by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) last January to save on running costs, as it moves to larger jails.

Bidder Joel Campbell said: "The hardest thing for us is that we are in limbo."

The MoJ said the deadline had now passed, but no decision had yet been made over its future.

'Ready to go'

Mr Campbell is hoping to convert the listed building into a museum, restaurant, space for cognitive behavioural therapy courses, a gym, library and hotel.

He also hopes the venue could host events such as ghost and horror tours.

Mr Campbell is one of two bidders hoping to secure the building that the BBC is aware of.

"We can't really move forwards and do too much as we may not win it, but at the same time we are trying to do as much as we can so if we do win it, we're ready to go," he said.

A spokesman for the MoJ said it was getting the best value for taxpayers, adding it was "currently considering all options and a decision will be made in due course".

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