>> 10 March 2011

A planning application for a new build prison in Peterhead on the site of the existing prison estate won the backing of councillors at a meeting of Aberdeenshire Council in Woodhill House earlier today.

Speaking in the Council Chamber, Peterhead South & Cruden SNP councillor Stuart Pratt, who is also a member of the Prison Visiting Committee, said:

“I am delighted we have finally got to this position.

“It seems like an age since we had the townspeople marching through the streets to support the prison officers at a public meeting at the Rescue Hall. We’ve come a long way since that time and I think the prison has been officially listed for closure twice under the old Scottish Executive, but here we are today with permission now granted for a new prison. It is a huge step forward.”

SNP councillor Stephen Smith, who also represents Peterhead South & Cruden where the prison is located commented:

“The prison provides over 200 jobs to the Buchan economy and it’s vital that these are retained. Today’s decision will do exactly that.

“The local economy has suffered some blows recently, and the prospect of a huge construction project in Peterhead will give a much-needed boost to local firms, who I want to see benefit as much as possible from the tendering opportunities which will be available.”

All Peterhead councillors supported the prison planning application, with the exception of Independent member Alan Buchan, who did not attend the meeting.

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