THE first glimpse of how the new prison planned for Inverness could look like was given this week.
The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) released a series of artists’ impressions for the new facility which is currently planned for land close to the Inverness Shopping retail park.
A public outcry put paid to earlier plans for it to be sited close to homes in the Milton of Leys area and SPS has still to submit a formal planning application, but if it gets the go-ahead the £66 million HMP Highland will replace the current Porterfield facility in the Crown area of Inverness.
While that regularly averages around 117 inmates, despite being built for just 103, the new prison would be able to take up to 200 prisoners.
Senior architect for SPS, Gregg Perron, said: “The idea is that the new prison looks very much part of the environment it’s in and looks in a lot of ways like any other community facility. That’s important for the local community outside but also for families of prisoners and the prisoners themselves when there is such an emphasis on rehabilitation.”
A public consultation drew a low turnout at Inshes Church last week, with those in charge hoping this suggests people are largely satisfied with the latest proposals.
One man who did attend but preferred to remain anonymous said: “It seems very fancy, very modern – probably more fancy than it needs to be.”
SPS is hoping to submit a full application this summer with the prison opening towards the end of 2020 or start of 2021.