Council leaders back 'super' prison in north Wales

Prison cell
Image caption Representatives from north Wales are due to meet Ministry of Justice officials

The possibility of a prison in north Wales has been welcomed by council leaders, emergency services and health officials in the region.

The North Wales Regional Leadership Board said it was "great news" the area had been shortlisted.

The board represents all six north Wales council leaders, police and fire services and other bodies.

Last month the UK government announced the region was being considered for a "super" prison with 1,200 inmates.

The board, which also represents the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, met last week to discuss the issue.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Cllr Hugh Evans, leader of Denbighshire council, said: "The board has been lobbying for a prison in north Wales for over five years.

"It is great news that we are on the shortlist of regions to be considered for a new prison."

He added: "I believe our efforts have put us in contention for a substantial investment in our region that could create over 1,000 jobs and provide a major £50m per annum boost to the whole economy of north Wales."

Cllr Dyfed Edwards, Gwynedd council's leader, said he was "excited" by the prospect of a prison.

Cllr Neil Rogers, Wrexham council's leader, said: "It is early days and the public must understand that it is far too early to speculate about specific sites as we have yet to discuss the requirements of the Ministry of Justice which will drive site criteria."

The board agreed that a north Wales prison should also serve the north west of England and the Midlands.

North Wales Police are to produce a business case outlining the potential benefits to community safety.

The board will meet with the Ministry of Justice to discuss the proposals further.

Every local authority in north Wales will also be asked to welcome the announcement.

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