Peterhead prison developers keen to stay with local contractors

A TOTAL of 16 contractors, mainly from the Peterhead and Fraserburgh areas, are currently working on the development of the new HM Prison Grampian.

Members of Peterhead Community Council were given details of all contractors at the site at their meeting on Wednesday.

Scottish Prison Service representative Martin Milne and Brendan Sweeney, project manager of developers Skanska, were present at the meeting where they gave an update on the prison development.

Mr Milne told members: “We had an extremely successful recruitment evening on June 6 where more than 130 potential candidates turned out.”

Mr Milne said that a governor designate had now been put in place in the form of Jim Farish, with the next step being to identify a deputy governor.

He told the meeting that the population of Peterhead Prison had also changed, now housing short-term prisoners as opposed to long-term sex offenders from the whole of Scotland.

Meanwhile, Mr Sweeney, said that a meeting would be held with Banff and Buchan College with regards to an apprenticeship scheme.

He said that this would be an on-going partnership throughout the construction phase of the prison.

Mr Sweeney said that with regards to legacies, Skanska was looking to carry out a refurbishment of school toilets at Burnhaven School.

“This project will be in excess of £10,000,” he said.

“To-date we have a couple of people employed from the Jobcentre and two labourers as well as a long list of local contractors currently employed on site.

“Our door is always open to any other contractors locally who want to work with us,” he said.

“We have had calls from contractors all over the country asking for work, but we are keen to keep things local.”

Mr Sweeney told the meeting that it was much more beneficial for Skanska to employ local people as there were no travelling costs or accommodation costs involved.

“It makes financial sense for us to do this,” he said, “and we are certainly very happy with the way things are going on-site.”

Mr Sweeney added that the work on the development of the new jail was on schedule and he was delighted that the weather had been favourable.

Community council treasurer, Bruce Buchan, asked if the apprentices would be paid for their work.

Mr Sweeney replied that the scheme was supposed to pay for eight with four unpaid, however he was of the belief that a fair day’s work should be rewarded with a fair day’s pay and this would be looked at in due course. Mr Buchan said that he felt all apprentices should be paid for their work and appreciated Mr ??’s views on the matter.

The SPS and Skanska representatives will give a further report at a future meeting.