CORRECTIVE Services NSW has committed to a new entry to the burgeoning Cessnock jail following sustained public pressure and criticism.
The department confirmed to Fairfax Media on Thursday that a development application was expected to be submitted to Cessnock City Council “early next year” for the new permanent access road.
Where the new entry will be built is yet to be determined, although an entry off Kerlew Street appears the most likely.
It is also unclear whether the controversial current entrance at Lindsay Street would remain in some capacity or be blocked off.
The department was under significant pressure to build a new entrance following sustained criticism from residents and community leaders regarding the massive expansion to the jail.
The prison will bulge from 800 prisoners to 1800 prisoners under the expansion, which will also attract a further 400 full-time jobs.
“The primary focus of the Review of Environmental Factors planning process was the expansion of the prison on state government-owned land,” Commissioner Peter Severin said.
“Now that work is underway on the main infrastructure, such as the rapid-build prison, it’s time to consider revised permanent access-options.
“This process will involve consultation with landowners, the council and stakeholders to determine the implications of various options, before a development application is submitted to the Council - hopefully by early next year.”
The department announced last month that the new correctional centre will be moved a further 90 metres and a landscaped three-metre high earth mound built “to improve amenity for neighbouring properties’’.
Most health services required by inmates in the new facility will be provided by Justice Health on site and includes registered nurses, mental health programs and drug and alcohol interventions, the department said.
It said about 60 people attended a community meeting on Tuesday.