Planning permission has been granted for Purcell’s two prison redevelopments. Dorchester prison in Dorset and Shepton Mallet prison in Somerset will be restored and converted into high quality homes.

Prior to its closure, HMP Shepton Mallet (first carousel image) was Britain’s oldest working prison and once held the Kray twins. The Grade II and II* listed buildings will be refurbished and converted into 96 apartments. Within its walls, the team has designed a 23-unit residential block and 27 apartments in terraced ‘mews’ style housing. The former visitor’s centre and part of B-Wing will be transformed into a heritage space and café.

HMP Dorchester is located on a Norman castle site and linked to author Thomas Hardy. The main cell blocks will be transformed into 60 apartments, while new terraced mansion-style buildings will provide 125 further apartments. It’s Grade II listed gatehouse will be converted into a heritage interpretative space for the public.

Both sites are owned and being developed by City & Country. Purcell is the architect and lead consultant working with landscape designers OPEN, planning consultants JLL, multi-disciplinary engineers Hydrock, transport consultants Callidus and structural engineers The Morton Partnership.

CEO Mark Goldspink commented: “These prisons have been a really significant part of the life of both towns for over two hundred years. The challenge of both sites is resolving how to convert the historic cell blocks into characterful modern apartments and how to create new green open spaces within the prison walls. 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.”