As some of you may be aware, HMP Bristol (Horfield Prison) recently made a planning application to demolish their existing education buildings and to build a new, modern education block.

I was contacted by residents concerned about loss of light and being overlooked and so, along with the residents, submitted comments on the application.

I argued that due consideration should be given to the possible loss of light and overlooking of neighbours. I thought it a good aspect of the application that the staff offices will be on the top floor, with high level windows on the teaching rooms. To ensure that neighbours are not overlooked I encouraged the planning permission to include a requirement to use the top floor for staff offices (as stated in the proposals), to guard against any change of use down the line that would affect neighbours’ privacy.

HMP BristolI also encouraged a requirement for the use of frosted windows where overlooking of neighbours is likely, in order to ensure maximum privacy for neighbours.

Planning permission for the building has now been granted, and I am happy to report that the permission includes certain conditions geared towards avoiding neighbours’ loss of privacy and amenity. These include: ensuring that the building is only ever used for education purposes; ensuring that windows are frosted and non-opening; and preventing further windows from being added. These will hopefully alleviate residents’ concerns and I’m pleased to see that they’re along the lines of measures I suggested.

Technicalities of the application aside, I am heartened to see such an investment in education and rehabilitation within the prison, giving a much more fit for purpose facility that will benefit the inmates greatly. Hopefully the requirements made in the planning permission will ensure the best result for neighbouring residents too. On which note, I understand that swapping the positions of the education block and exercise yard will hopefully reduce the prevalence of contraband being thrown over the prison wall, so the new development should help with that problem also.

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