- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Campaigners lose appeal against Brussels 'mega-prison'
Belgium's supreme court has rejected a last-ditch appeal to block the construction of a €1 billion "mega-prison" in the northern Brussels suburb of Haren, near the new Nato headquarters.
The Council of State rejected two appeals against the planning and environmental permits issued by the Brussels region - meaning building work can now go ahead on what will become Belgium's biggest prison.
The Haren facility is due to open in 2022 and will have capacity for 1,190 inmates. The new facility will eventually replace the overcrowded and run-down prisons of Saint-Gilles, Forest and Berkendael.
Described as a "prison village", it will include three men's prisons, two for women, a youth detention wing and a section for those under psychiatric internment.
Campaigners say the project is oversized and the construction works will destroy local wildlife.
They also argue that the regular movements of prison vans between the quiet suburb and the central Brussels courthouses will cause traffic and noise nuisance - and relatives and legal professionals will find it more difficult to visit the detainees.
The prison's construction is a public-private partnership. Belgium's federal buildings agency, the Régie des Bâtiments, confirmed last year that the mega-prison would cost the state €40.2 million a year for the next 25 years.