Prior to its closure in 2013, HMP Shepton Mallet was the oldest working prison in Britain with a colourful list of infamous inmates. Our client’s brief was to best understand the character of the existing, listed buildings and explore the opportunities for redeveloping the prison site into high-quality residential accommodation and community facilities.

Purcell provided Lead Designer, Architect, Masterplanning and Heritage Consultancy services, securing planning and listed building consent for 146 new dwellings. Our challenge was to maximise development opportunities of the site and existing buildings, including the Grade II*-listed cell blocks, whilst respecting the value and character of the existing, historic fabric and surrounding conservation area. The proposals create a unique sense of place, carefully combining private residential accommodation and amenity space, within a shared, semi-private masterplan.

By carefully exploring the existing buildings, the site and surrounding grain, the team developed a scheme that retained and refurbished the existing listed buildings as well as an adjacent 20th-century workshop. So as to not impose on the existing historic buildings, new-build accommodation is located against the prison walls allowing both private and public landscape to enliven the site.