MP reacts as Reading Prison is sold to Chinese foundation

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) announced that a Chinese organisation called the Ziran Education Foundation had been selected to purchase the Prison on Thursday, January 11.

The news comes more than 10 years after inmates left the prison, with maintenance costs to keep the site dormant estimated at £2.5-3 million.

The Prison is affectionately known as ‘Reading Gaol’ a historical spelling of jail.

Matt Rodda, the Labour MP for Reading East, has been lobbying for years for the MoJ to allow it to be sold to a community bidder to be used as an arts and heritage centre.

Reacting to the news that a purchaser for the Prison has been selected, Mr Rodda said: “I am interested in the proposals from the new owner of Reading Gaol and I would like to meet them to discuss their plans for the historic building.

“I am cautiously optimistic about the future of the gaol and I would also encourage the new owner to meet Reading Borough Council to discuss their plans as the council is the local planning authority.”

The MoJ announcement about Reading Prison stated the Ziran Education Foundation’s initial plans involve providing an educational centre, a museum outlining the history of the prison and exhibition space on the site.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre