Saturday, 7 February 2009

New Prison

Before I get on my Soap Box take a look at what Michael Sol Owen had to say on his Blog last month. Click Here (Check out the "Go To Jail" section)

Click Here to see videos of what some Cofis had to say.

Well, it seems that Caernarfon is to become a "Prison Town" and, as we are led to believe, this will mean plenty of jobs for local people... But will it?

Will these highly trained positions go to local workers? Or will they draft in others who are already qualified?
Will it mean a flood of English speakers moving into our area, thus diluting the language even further?
Will the prison use local traders or use their existing sources?
Was this deal sorted long ago, before they conveniently started building the new court in Caernarfon?
What about the proposed by-pass for Caernarfon, was this just a part of the jigsaw we didn't know about?
There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before we all accept this "new saviour" into our struggling town.

It seems to many that this has been railroaded in on us. It was amazing how quickly it all came together..... and judging (no pun intended) by the response to the poor account Hywel Williams gave of himself on Radio Cymru's "Taro Post" this week. It seems that not all locals are happy that we have not been given all the facts and more importantly has the Government and Gwynedd asked the public what they really want?

Our online poll is suggesting that (as I write) 84% of the public are against the prison coming to Caernarfon (vote here) whilst Hywel, Plaid and Gwynedd re rejoicing.
Cwmbran are throwing street parties as they feel they have "WON" because they are NOT getting this "fantastic all saving" prison.
How can we be accepting this with open arms, whilst others wouldn't touch it with a barge pole?

Listening to the debate on Taro Post yesterday I was surprised to hear Hwyel Williams suggest that he would not have been happy with houses being built on the brownfield site because of the asbestos issue.
Yet he is fine with a prison being built on the site??? This doesn't add up to me...

Another problem I have with this whole affair is, how much will this affect our house prices?
Will a house valued at £150,000 still be worth £150,000 now that people know a Category C prison is to come here. OR WILL IT DROP £10k to £20k in value?
(Category C means they will accept muggers, knife attackers and criminals found guilty of GBH AS WELL AS prisoners with far serious crimes who have served a large part of their sentence and have since been down graded to Category C!!!)

Finally, can I ask,
Now the Government is going to purchase this land from Bluefield Caernarfon Ltd will either compensate the former TGWU workers unfairly sacked by Friction Dynamics and protested for three years at the site?

Will the Government help out these men and women who lost their livelyhood?

It is time for MP's etc to stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes and tell us the truth. and perhaps dip their hand in their pockets to help out the former Ferodo workers.

They tell us that this MAY be good for the area (Financially) but at what cost?

Will we lose out on the value of our homes?
Will we be up against others moving into our council houses?
Will they get preference over locals?
Will our area be safer once the prison is up and running?
Will ex convicts be settling down in Caernarfon at the end of their sentences?
Will most of the workers be local or from outside the area?
Will the prison service only use local produce etc?

Will someone please give us the answers?

One final point, we have been campaigning for years to have Caernarfon to be better signposted on the North Wales Coast.

For as long as I can remember different groups have tried and failed to get Caernarfon signposted thus encouraging visitors to the town.
Excuses given?
Caernarfon was not directly on the major road and that if they gave signs to Caernarfon then other towns would demand the same, even though Caernarfon is the major tourist attraction and a World Heritage site in North Wales.

How quick will we now see new signs erected,? And pointing to HM PRISON CAERNARFON?
No doubt we will soon be hearing about these new wonderful signs "selling" Caernarfon.
Shame they couldn't have done it when we asked all those years ago.
Is this what we want?
Will this affect our World Heritage status?

I remember in the past people being "Sent to Coventry", it looks like now they will be sending them to Caernarfon instead!!!

Try this out.... Make a search of "Risley" on Google and it gives you information about the Jail!
At the moment if you enter the word "Caernarfon" then Google will list and as the top searches.

In a few years time we should see the search engines pointing visitors first to the CAERNARFON JAIL.

Is this what we want?

I rest my case me lud !!!

Bye for now.

Back to COL


Anonymous said...

As a Gwynedd and Town Councillor I believe I am in the seat to argue your points of view and collectively decide what is the best for the local electorate, not to decide what is politically expedient.
It will be the public who hopefully decide if they want a prison or not and I will take on board their wishes The Government said that the reason they picked Caernarfon is that they received the least objections from the area. Come on, no one knew what was going on and still dont know.[very political] People are far more important than politics, a former senior Plaid Cymru Councillor told me that I was against everything new [development] the same former councillor who was in fact against the development of the Marina at Pwllheli which would has bought hundreds of well paid jobs to the town. I also believe that he is against the development of the new Tesco store at Caernarfon which would bring a further 300 jobs!!!

We must not forget what has happened to the workers of Woolworths, many are still unemployed and it seems we are not working together. Caernarfon has lost so much over the years Peblig, Ferodo, The Nelson,Woolworths, The Cottage Hospital etc... We have so many empty shops in town, not enough council houses for the local people.
I promise to stand for the rights of the people of Caernarfon to make it a safe town for both local people to live in and for tourist’s to visit.
Please contact me if I can be of any support Roy Owen

Iago ap Ivor said...

It is more than a little disappointing to note that the local MP's are all rallying around the new prison and making comment on the fact that it is the culmination of 10 years campaigning by the Plaid. A review of their manefesto's for that period show no indication whatsoever of any defined policy to have a jail sited here. Bit of a vote loser really...
It is also interesting to note that the favoured location was the old Denbigh Hospital, as desired by the local council, the Chief Constable and a host of others well in the know about these issues. The site in Caernarfon runs contrary to over 60% of the required criteria for the siting of a new prison but still it goes ahead.
Serious questions need to be raised on the processes employed in getting the prison brought to Caernarfon and the personalities involved. The entire proces was brought in under the radar screen and delivered to the people most affected by it as a done deal.
When questioned there are no direct answers forthcoming regarding the nature of the work available, no reference to any research having been done on similar projects etc...just a banner waving drum banging announcement that there will be a job bonanza for the town.
It is a matter of record that the largest prisons in the UK operate with a total workforce of less than 100 persons per shift, and a look at HMP's website gives a good cross section of the salaries available...not very lucrative even by local standards.
Remember also that once the posts are filled within the prison there will be no further expansion and no possibility of further jobs. The same will apply to any construction jobs (refer to the new Court Building to get a good idea of how few local jobs were created.....)as once the place is operational these jobs vanish.
I suspect a blatant lie from the illustrious Mr H Williams in order to further his own goals (gaols?)

So to conclude, we the residents of Caernarfon have had, courtesy of our politicians, a prison sited on our doorstep. Never publically proclaimed, never indicated in any manifesto, no consultation with the people most affected, no identifiable research, no facts whatsoever regarding jobs. Pretty poor showing on the part of our (somewhat expensive) MP and our illustrious council. One wonders how many other World Heritage sites would gain permision for the construction of a prison so close..but then again the same people did promote the building of 'Watkins Tower's ' at Victoria Dock so anything is possible.

I strongly belive that the way forward with this is to demand a Public Enquiry in to the entire matter and we can all see how the we have arrived at where we are at and know whether politics are over-riding common sense.

I am unsure of the processes in requesting such an Enquiry but with over 80% ofthe towns people against this proposal surely it is a massive vote winner for whoever raises the flag and demands the answers we all want.

Iago ap Ifor