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£286m prison opens to become one of the largest operating in the UK

4 Jul 2023

Tim Irons

Operations Director

A brand-new category C resettlement prison has completed in Leicester, delivering more than 600 permanent jobs in the local area, with a core focus on prisoner rehabilitation through skills-based training and employment opportunities.

HMP Fosse Way, which was named following extensive consultation with the local community, forms part of a UK government plan to deliver 3,360 additional prison places by 2023 at Fosse Way and the recently opened HMP Five Wells in Wellingborough.

The £286 million project will initially house 1,715 prisoners across a 16-acre site, with an additional cell block and ancillary building extension approved by Blaby District Council and Oadby and Wigston Borough Council last December, extending capacity further.

Leading independent property, construction, and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard was appointed as lead designer for the project, providing architecture, interior design, civil engineering, building engineering, sustainability and energy, structural engineering, landscape architecture and interior design services. Its team has closely collaborated with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and prison operator Serco.

In total, seven houseblocks and six ancillary buildings come together under a vision from the MoJ to transform prisoner rehabilitation in the UK. Prisoners have access to a central services hub, which includes a gym, library, educational classrooms, faith halls, as well as workshops and external horticultural areas, with the potential for Serco to work closely with local employers to deliver on-the-job training opportunities.

Tim Irons, operations director at Pick Everard, said: “This is a multi-purpose, free-flow prison, that has been closely modelled on our baseline design of HMP Five Wells and will continue to be the blueprint for a further four new build prisons under the MoJ estate.

“It has been planned to promote supervised interaction between prisoners, as well as several initiatives that allow them to gain new skills that will boost employment opportunities upon their release.

"The interior design has been closely considered, applying biophilic and salutogenic principles to support wellbeing and strengthen the identity of each space. It is a modern, sustainable custodial estate, working to BREEAM excellent standards, which, following its planned extension, will become one of the biggest prisons operating in the UK.

“We’re incredibly proud to deliver this exciting vision, which continues our long-standing relationship with the MoJ and the wider justice sector."

HMP Fosse Way has been built on the old HMP Glen Parva site, a former young offenders’ institution that closed in 2017.

Its design has included several sustainable considerations, with offsite construction maintaining product quality, whilst helping reduce capital and operational costs. In addition, air sourced heating powers elements within the northern compound, while solar panels have been installed on ancillary buildings.

Tim added: “Our focus was on reducing operational energy demand, with a design that moved away from direct fossil fuel energy sources to clean, onsite renewable generation.

“These principles directly support net zero objectives and builds on our identified carbon reduction plan that will be carried forth throughout the MoJ prison programme.”

Work on the planned extension is expected to commence in August, with the project currently at RIBA Stage 4.