By Michael Scott
Crime buffs can live in Fred West or the Kray twins’ former cells under new plans to turn a historic prison into luxury flats.
Gloucester Prison’s historic listed buildings – which played host to serial killer West in 1994 – will become 202 apartments under new plans approved earlier this month.
But the clink, which closed in 2013, was the site of dozens of hangings between 1826 and 1939 and it is believed more than 120 dead prisoners are buried in unmarked graves there.
Alongside restoring and converting the original listed prison buildings into 38 one, two and three-bedroom flats, seven new buildings will be built to house another 164 apartments.
Currently the prison, which operated in 1792, still operates tourist tours and under the new plans a café and heritage centre will remain in the listed Chapel Wing for the public to enjoy.
Developers plan to keep the HMP Gloucester’s ‘indomitable’ perimeter walls intact – with some new parts of the site to be opened to the public for the first time in history.
Planners are also set to build a glazed ground floor viewing platform above the 12th century Castle Keep which was discovered during archaeological works.
The prison’s former exercise yards will be landscaped with new trees planted and 114 car parking spaces created.
Gloucester City Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to approve the plans, put forward by luxury developers City & Country, on May 1.
Richard Winsborough, associate director of planning at City & Country, said: “This is a fantastic outcome for Gloucester Prison and for the wider regeneration of the Quayside and Blackfriars area.
“Working closely with the council, consultees and the community we have developed plans that will create a long-term and viable future use for the prison.
“The historic features of the site are crucial elements of our plans, and thanks to the creation of a heritage space these can be enjoyed by all.”