RESIDENTS have reacted to a bid to build two large prisons in Wethersfield.

The Ministry of Justice unveiled the major plans for two prisons on the site at RAF Wethersfield.

It has sent out letters to residents informing them of plans to build the facilities at the air base.

The proposed prisons which would be built alongside each other, would each hold about 1,715 male prisoners.

If green-lighted construction work would begin as soon as 2023.

The Ministry of Justice claims the bid will benefit the area with millions in investment while creating more than 1,200 jobs.

Some residents say they are pleased with the plans, highlighting the amount of jobs the prison would create.

One commented: "I see no problem with this as it sorts out courts being able to prosecute prisoners properly instead of slap on the wrist and the employment it would bring into the community would be second to none, so would be win win all way round."

However others have said it would be sad to see the air base go.

A resident said: "It should remain a site for people to visit as it was a lovely airbase which a lot of my family and friends who worked at it, would be sad to see this happen."

Each prison would have seven separate blocks and each block would have have four floors, with around 60 prisoners on each floor, making a total of 240 prisoners in each block.

Independent Braintree councillor Joanne Beavis said: "The district council and councillors have been advised that the MoJ have announced, in public, plans to build two new prisons at Wethersfield.

"The MoJ is currently conducting a period of consultation and will close November 8. It is likely that the application will be presented to the Braintree District Council Planning Committee for determination.

"I have updated both Sible Hedingham and Castle Hedingham Parish Councils and I will update local residents in my regular councillor updates.

"I would encourage local residents to contact me in the usual way and to use the MoJ online survey which is easily found on the website."

A consultation is now open for residents to take part in, with events scheduled to take place in October.

There will be virtual Zoom meetings on October 14 at 7pm and on October 15 at 1pm.

There will also be exhibitions from 3pm to 8pm at Finchingfield Guild Hall on October 20 and at Wethersfield Village Hall on October 21.

Proposals for the site can be found online at