An Oxfordshire prison is expanding in preparation for more prisoners to arrive by mid-2025.

The expansion of HMP Bullingdon, which occupies roughly 21 hectares of former Ministry of Defence land near Bicester, is set to begin in early 2023.

The proposed building works are within the existing perimeter wall of the prison boundary.

They include an additional 247-space prisoner block, a new office and administration building, new workshop building, extension to the medical office, a new ‘programmes and multifaith’ building, extension to the existing physical recreation building, and associated demolition works.

The proposal also includes some works outside of the prison boundary, namely a 100-space car park which will be built adjacent to the existing one.  

HMP Bullingdon is a local prison but does take inmates from further afield, such as London, Birmingham and Winchester.

The facility typically houses prisoners who are awaiting the outcome of a trial. Therefore a lot of prisoners are transferred from HMP Bullingdon to other facilities once they receive their verdict.  

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We are expanding Bullingdon as part of our commitment to create an additional 20,000 prison places and deliver a modern prison system that keeps the public safe, while rehabilitating offenders to cut crime.”

The extension to HMP Bullingdon is just one of many prison extensions planned for the UK.

As part of the National Police Uplift Programme, the government have pledged to have an extra 20,000 police officers on the streets of the UK by 2023.

Which in theory means more crimes will be detected and reported, hence the pre-emptive move to build more prison space.

Simon Holland, Councillor for Launton and Otmoor said: “There’s always a lack of investment in prisons. Population has increased significantly over the years, and I would bet that prison spaces haven’t grown with it.

“Regardless of national policy on increasing police numbers and in turn arrests, we probably do need more space at HMP Bullingdon.”

A spokesperson for HMP Bullingdon said: “We are anticipating the need for more prison spaces, for a number of reasons.

“Including the increase in police officer numbers, and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.”

The bill includes major government proposals on crime and justice in England and Wales.

Police chiefs are now able to put more restrictions on static protests, such as imposing a start and finish time and setting noise limits.    

Additionally, any damage to memorials could lead to up to ten years in prison, and mandatory life sentences will be handed out to anyone convicted of killing an emergency worker.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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