HMP Bishopbriggs: no change from Prison Service – Jo

HMP Bishopbriggs?

Jo is gathering the views of local residents over the proposed name change

In a letter to Jo Swinson MP, the Scottish Prison Service has confirmed that it is retaining ‘HMP Bishopbriggs’ as the working title for the new prison at Low Moss, despite growing local protests.

Commenting on the letter, which was received yesterday by Jo Swinson, she said:

“I was dismayed to read that the Scottish Government and Scottish Prison Service are still using the working title ‘HMP Bishopbriggs’ to refer to the new prison. The letter completely fails to acknowledge the strong public feeling against the proposed name and does not rule out that ‘HMP Bishopbriggs’ will be considered when the final decision on the name is made.

“My written reply to the SPS urges them to change the working title and rule it out as a potential name for the new facility. This is what the local community wants to see and what makes sense for Bishopbriggs. I have also raised the matter again with Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, urging him to take responsibility rather than passing the issue on to the Scottish Prison Service as an ‘operational matter’.

“It is vital to put maximum pressure on the Scottish Government to drop these idiotic plans. As well as encouraging people to sign the Woodhill Residents’ Group petition online, I am going out and about in the community to collect signatures from local residents.”

A copy of Jo Swinson’s letters to the Scottish Prison Service and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill MSP are below:

Mike Ewart

Chief Executive

Scottish Prison Service

Calton House

5 Redheughs Rigg

Edinburgh EH12 9HW

12th December 2008

Dear Mike,

Thank you for your letter of 9th December, in response to my correspondence with Kenny MacAskill MSP on the proposed name of the Scottish Prison Service’s new prison in Bishopbriggs.

Your letter states that HMP Bishopbriggs is being used as a working title for the new facility. Given that over the past 40 years the name Low Moss has been used to refer to the prison on that site, it is very unclear to me why the decision was taken to change the working title from Low Moss to HMP Bishopbriggs.

With some consideration of the wishes of people in the town, the local backlash against the name that is now taking place could have been predicted and prevented.

I would urge you to think again and give the project a new working title. The opposition from local residents is strong, given the negative connotations that the current working title brings to Bishopbriggs. The local community clearly wants HMP Bishopbriggs ruled out as a potential name for the new prison.

I am currently collecting views from local residents and will be passing these on to the Scottish Prison Service to ensure you are fully aware of the strength of local feeling on this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

Jo Swinson MP

Kenny MacAskill

Justice Secretary

St Andrews House



12th December 2008

Dear Kenny

Further to my letter of 19th November, I have received a response from Mike Ewart of the Scottish Prison Service, regarding the proposed name change for the prison at Low Moss in Bishopbriggs.

As you may be aware, the response indicates that the Scottish Prison Service is using HMP Bishopbriggs as the working title for the facility, and does not rule out that this may be the official name given to the prison that is chosen in due course. Indeed, given that this is the working title, it could be assumed to be the default option for the new name.

In all previous communications, including the planning application for the new prison, it was referred to as Low Moss. The name HMP Bishopbriggs is a new proposal and one that has caused considerable anger among local residents.

Mr Ewart states that he was asked to reply because the issue of the prison name is an operational matter. However, the decision to change the working title of the new prison from HMP Low Moss to HMP Bishopbriggs, particularly against such strong local opposition, is one that surely has political implications.

I would urge you in your capacity as Cabinet Secretary responsible, to intervene in this matter and rule out HMP Bishopbriggs as the name of the new prison.

Yours Sincerely,

Jo Swinson MP

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