THE government's justice minister will visit the Isle of Wight to discuss the future of the former Camp Hill prison site.

MP Bob Seely raised the issue in the House of Commons today (Tuesday) to push for the sale of the site, which has been earmarked for redevelopment.

Mr Seely called for the old prison to be demolished and replaced with affordable housing.

He said in parliament: "Will the minister update us on the sale, or the transfer, to the Isle of Wight Council of Camp Hill prison?

"Is he aware of the importance of the site to the Island and to public housing on the Island, and does he understand the frustrations of Islanders who see yet another bit of land being land-banked by either developers or government departments?”

Following the questions, the Minister of State for Justice, Robert Buckland, agreed to meet Mr Seely at the site to discuss finalising the sale.

Mr Buckland said: “My honourable friend is right to raise this issue and I am as anxious as him to make sure that the land can be put to good use.

“We’ve commissioned a demolition survey of the former Camp Hill prison.

"I’ll meet him when the results are available later this month and I will also visit the Island to come and see the prison estate and to talk about the matter directly with the Isle of Wight Council.”

Last year, former prisons secretary Rory Stewart started work on a plan to sell the site to the Isle of Wight Council for a token amount of £1.

The prison itself has not been used since 2013. It was closed after Parkhurst and Albany were merged to form HMP Isle of Wight.

Mr Seely said: “If the Island’s council and housing associations can develop this site, which has already been built on, it means we should be able to say ‘no’ to developers who want to build housing, very often not for Islanders, on greenfield sites, which damages our landscape, our quality of life and our visitor economy.

“Camp Hill will be an example of sustainable development of housing, built in appropriate numbers, for Islanders and preferably by Islanders.”

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