Shepton Mallet prison to become apartments by 2017
Shepton Mallet is 400 years old and every type of criminal has been imprisoned there, among which are the infamous Kray twins. There is still much work to be completed, but by 2017 it won’t be criminals coming through the prison’s daunting gatehouse on Gaol Lane, it will be the new residents and their families.
The initial stage of this massive conversion operation has already taken place. The final remaining prisoner have been moved and work on transforming the once dingy cells into 160 lavish apartments has already begun.
The privilege of living in one of these converted homes will set you back £125,000 for an apartment with one or two bedrooms or a family sized home will cost up to £500,000. Work has commenced with builders knocking down up to five cell walls to ensure enough living space for the perspective new residents.
The cells which once has inside toilets will be transformed into en suite bathrooms and the exercise yard will be made over into gardens and grounds- which the residents will have 24 hour access to. The biggest conundrum in the development process however, is the issue of the humungous walls surrounding the prison.
Richard Winsborough – head of planning with the company responsible for making the dramatic transformation happen - explained “We see them as a huge asset in terms of providing security, but at the same time, we don’t want the development to be inaccessible to the local community”.
However, this fascinating property development is not going to be the only one of its kind. The same company responsible for the transformation has purchased three other prisons that are to experience the same make over. Prisons in Gloucester, Dorchester and Portsmouth will also be turned into apartments.
In total 900 new homes will be created from prisons which have housed hundreds of thousands of inmates and hold a very colourful history. Helen Moore from City and Country stated that “Our aim is not to eradicate, but to embrace their former use”.
Aislinn Devlin, Pali Ltd
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