SPS Freedom of Information Request – HMP Highland Report (Proposed Sites)

Here is a document received in response to a Freedom of Information request we submitted to the Scottish Prison service in relation to the selection process for proposed locations of the new HMP Highland prison.

This document is from 2009. Back then, Milton of Leys was discounted as an option due to, amongst other reasons, the site being too close to a residential area and in a location that would be too highly visible. Since then, the school has been built and there are a huge amount of new houses that now exist in much closer proximity to the site.

Download the document here: HMP_Highland_Report_October_2009_-_CURRENT

Excerpt from the document showing the reasons Milton of Leys was discounted by consultants for SPS in 2009:



Highland Council Freedom of Information Request – Response

We wrote to the Highland Council for a Freedom of Information request and have received a response. Here was the request:

FOI Request – 20 April 2016

Dear sirs,

The Freedom of Information Act

Please provide all information in electronic format in relation to all correspondence, dates and attendees of meetings and minutes relating to the Scottish Government and the Scottish Prison Service and/or their agents Colliers in respect of the proposed new prison site being considered for the Milton of Leys area identified as IN69 in the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan published in 2015. Please also provide detail of communications relating to their comments during the planning consultation process in the run up to the publishing of the local development plan and full details of Highland Council response to their correspondence detailed in the following: http://www.highland.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/1583/inv32_-_colliers_for_sps.pdf

Yours faithfully,

Steve Gordon

On behalf of The Highlands Against the Proposed Prison Location Campaign


Response – 20 May 2016

Below is the response from The Highland Council. We have converted the scanned print version and published in text below using OCR (Optical Character Recognition), so there may be some mistakes. Here are download links to the original letter in PDF format and all files provided with this response.

These files have also been converted using OCR which will allow you to use the search function to find keywords within the content. Please read through these and feel free to discuss with us directly and on the Facebook page with others.



The Highland Council
Comhairle na Gaidhealtachd

Please ask for: Malcolm Macleod
E-mail: DI-FOI@highland .gov.uk
Our Reference: EIR 1413885
Date: 20 May 2016

Dear Mr Gordon

Request for Information under Environmental lnformation (Scotland) Regulations 2004 

The Council considers that the information requested falls within the definition of Environmental Information as defined by the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs). Such information is exempt from disclosure under Section 39(2) of FOISA, however the Council must consider your request under the EIRs. Your request has, therefore, been treated as a request under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

You have asked for the following information – correspondence, dates and attendees of meetings and minutes relating to the Scottish Government and the Scottish Prison Service, and/or their agents Colliers in respect of the proposed new prison site being considered for Milton of Leys, identified as IN69 in the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan.

You have also asked for the detail of communications relation to comments during the planning consultation process in the run up to the publishing of the local development plan and full details of Highland Council response to their correspondence as detailed at http://www.highland .gov.uk/download/downloads/id/1583/inv32 – colliers for sps.pdf

Please find attaclhed a zipped document which contains 4 documents. The first “Estate Development Strategy – undated”, is a copy of a document received by the Council during the Highland Wide Local Development Plan consultation. The remaining documentation is in three parts – parts A-C and is the result of searches undertaken with officers and systems using the search terms “SPS”, “Inverness Prison”, “Colliers” and “IN69”. There are parts of these files that have been redacted under Regulation 11 (Personal Data) of the EIR’s, to ensure the Council upholds its duty under the Data Protection Act 1998. To clarify, where emailsifiles relate to the existing prison at Porterfield, these have not been included as it is considered out with the scope of the request. Similarly where emails and files relate to the current Pre-Application process these have not been included they are considered to be commercially confidential under Regulation 10(5)(e)ofthe EIR’s.

A link to the local development plan Examination (public local inquiry) document that covers IN69 under a different site reference, can be found at the following link:

Inner Moray Firth Proposed Local Development Plan Examination Report – http://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/file/12846/

In terms of meetings held please see the extract below of information contained within the attachments:

  • 2009 – SPS publicly announce their intention to search for a new Highland prison (via our Highland wide Local Development Plan 1 process);
  • 2011 – SPS publicly reveal (via our Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan Call for Sites process) the 12 sites (including Milton of Leys) they have short listed and assessed (detail attached and below) – this representation went on our website (and is still there now) in mid 2011 – local press picked up the issue (of the general need and site search) at this time;
  • 2012 – Committee approval of MIR of IMFLDP – prison site search reported to Members – no specific prison site identified;
  • 2013/14 – SPS lodged objections to IMFLDP trying to get specific reference to prison use at Longman landfill site and HIE’s land at East Inverness – we added “nonresidential institution” use to the range of acceptable uses within these mixed use sites – this compromise was accepted by DPEA Reporter; and
  • 2015/16 – SPS assess costs of Longman landfill option as prohibitive (service diversions, digging out waste, trunk road junction improvement etc) and commence discussions with Inverness Estates and then Hazeldene (Inverness) Ltd re Milton of Leys option.

A number of meetings have been held over the course of a number of years, dating back to at least 2008. From our records, these meetings are as follows:

  • 12/11/2008 New Prison Site – Attendees: Stuart Black, Malcolm Macleod, Sam Macnaughton, Allan Maguire
  • 18/08/2009 Andy CraiglChris Long (SPS) – Attendees: Stuart Black, Malcolm Macleod
  • 10106/2011 Colliers (acting for SPS) – Attendees: Malcolm Macleod
  • 13/09/2012 Neil Gray, Colliers (acting for SPS) – Attendees: Stuart Black, Malcolm Macleod, Tim Stott
  • 27/08/13 Neil Gray, Colliers (acting for SPS) – Attendees: Tim Stott
  • 26/11/2013 Neil Gray, Colliers (acting for SPS) – Attendees: Malcolm Macleod, Allan Maguire, Alan Webster, Tim Stott (specifically on Longman)
  • 31/07/14 Andy Craig (SPS) – Attendees: Tim Stott
  • 15/09/14 Gregg Pearson SPS Architect and SPS Project Team – Attendees: TIm Stott
  • 09/10/2014 Meeting with SPS to discuss broad site search – Attendees: Malcolm Macleod, Tim Stott
  • 29/10/2015 Meeting with Andy Craig, Ian Kane (SPS) and Brian Clark (Hazeldene) re Inverness Prison (Milton of Leys site) – Attendees: Malcolm Macleod, Tim Stott. This was a general meeting to discuss the Local Development Plan allocations in the area as the development site had changed hands from Inverness Estates Limited to Hazeldene (Inverness) Ltd

Under Regulation 16 of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), you have the right to request that the Highland Council reviews any aspect of how it has dealt with your request. This requirement for review should be put in writing to the Freedom of Information Officer, Chief Executive’s Office, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX, within 40 working days of receipt of this letter. The request should include details of the information requested and the aspects of the Highland Council’s response which you are not satisfied with.

If you are subsequently dissatisfied with the outcome of the Council’s review, you have the right to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner under Regulation 17 of the EIRS, within six months of receiving the Council’s review response.

Yours sincerely
J Stuart Black

Director of Development & Infrastructure: J Stuart Black. MA (Hans). PhD
Development & Infrastructure Service. GlenurQuhart Road. Inverness IV3 5NX