Prison that held the Krays to be converted to flats
A former prison famous for housing the Kray twins is to be converted into luxury flats.
The project at the former HMP Shepton Mallett will transform the site - which closed in 2013 - into 96 luxury residences. The refurbishment work may include fitting new insulation as well as removing most of the traces of the incarceration of a number of well-known criminals.
While the bars and heavy steel doors that kept Ronnie and Reggie isolated from the public for many years will be gone, but the cell blocks, treadwheel house and workshops will still be standing as the prison's existing buildings are Grade II-listed.
As well as the refurbishment work, 40 new apartments will be constructed within the prison walls.
The project is one of two aimed at converting former prisons in the south-west of England into residential use. Dorchester Prison in Dorset, which also closed in 2013, will include 185 new apartments. It's cell blocks will be turned into 60 one? and two-bedroom apartments, while 125 more will be incorporated into terraced mansion-style buildings.
City & Country Properties will be carrying out the transformations with the help of architect Purcell. Its managing director Helen Moore said: "It is incredibly exciting to be charting new territory as the first developer in the UK to convert prisons of this size into residential use and Purcell has played an integral role in bringing forward these exceptional plans."
Purcell partner Alasdair Travers commented: "Our designs bring out the special character of each site’s heritage to create a sense of place, transforming the prisons into attractive places to live."
These prisons are among a number to have closed or been recommended for closure as the government seeks to upgrade prisons for the 21st century. This means several more could be refurbished and insulated to become new homes, with plenty of people fascinated by the attraction of living somewhere once occupied by a famous convict.
For those fascinated by Ronnie and Reggie Kray, however, one place they will never be able to live is 178 Vallance Road, the house in the East End of London where the twins grew up. It was demolished to make way for new flats in the 1980s.