Printer Friendly

Why not take a prison break for your hols?

Byline: MARTINALLSOPP

According to a recent survey by budget hotel chain Travelodge, 65 per cent of Britons will opt for a 'staycation' this year.

Instead of holidaying abroad, some will be heading for our own coastline, perhaps Devon, England's Riviera, or the balmy Isle of Wight.

Others may opt for a city break, with London a perennial favourite.

But aside from their obvious tourist attractions, these hotspots are also home to some of Britain's most notorious gaols. Some of their visitors do not go there of their own volition - they are guests of Her Majesty.

It's therefore no wonder that an influential think-tank charged with reviewing prison accommodation has mooted plans to sell off some of Britain's ageing clinks to property developers, for plush apartments or boutique hotels.

Around 30 sites have been earmarked, to be replaced by 12 superprisons, saving PS10 billion over 25 years into the bargain.

As we all know, when it comes to property, location is key and some prisons, as we have seen, occupy prime sites.

The idea of reinventing prisons is not as bonkers as it first seems: it has form. Honest and upright citizens can take porridge in quirky hotel chain Malmaison's Oxford establishment, a former prison. And the notion isn't alien overseas either.

If you fancy a 'prison break', then you can find hotels in Australia, Amsterdam, Canada, Holland, Finland and Sweden to accommodate you. Mind you, having seen 'Midnight Express' I'd probably baulk at staying at the former Ottoman prison in Istanbul: though with rack rates at the Four Seasons running into the thousands, it seems some people aren't phased by it.

Other houses of incarceration have also been reincarnated. Cornwall's Bodmin Gaol, closed in 1927, is now home to a tourist attraction, as is Beaumaris Gaol in Anglesey.

Belfast's infamous Crumlin Road Gaol is now a visitor attraction, conference centre and entertainment venue. You can now go to a comedy gig in a place where 17 men were hanged, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "gallows humour".

So, although the Government hasn't made many inroads into its plans to sell-off chunks of its real estate to pay down the deficit, maybe this idea has some legs.

Who knows, in a few years time when you are planning a getaway, you might be lured by the delights of Dartmoor, Parkhurst or Wormwood Scrubs (though they may need to work on the branding for that one).

Steve Allen is Birmingham head of office at national law firm Mills & Reeve
COPYRIGHT 2013 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Editorial; Opinion, Columns
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 1, 2013
Words:419
Previous Article:A round-up of news from the region's legal sector in the past week.
Next Article:A round-up of news from the region's manufacturing sector in the past week.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters