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Family's dream new home...until prison builds cell block just 50 yards away

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 21, 2014

  • A couple have been offered a new property after construction began on a new prison block outside their Bridgend home. Ben Karrie is pictured in his garden with the cell block in the background.

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A FURIOUS family have been offered a new house by a builder - because a prison cell block is going up next to their dream home.

Father-of-one Ben Karrie and his wife were delighted to move into the £190,000 semi-detached house with a wooded copse at the bottom of their private garden.

But Ben, 37, was horrified when the trees were chopped down - and a new cell block for 300 prisoners started being built just 50 yards away.

Ben said: "This was meant to be our perfect house - but now we feel like the prisoners because we've lost our privacy.

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"The trees have been ripped out and every window at the back of my house overlooks a building site.

"It will be the gatehouse and visitor centre for a prison that houses some extremely dangerous men."

Ben Karrie outside his home.

Ben and partner Cheryl, 35, have moved their daughter Isla, four, from her bedroom in the back on the Persimmon Homes property to a front bedroom at their home in Bridgend.

The family knew the 1,200-inmate Parc Prison run by private security company G4S was over the other side of the trees at the foot of his garden.

But he claims he was in the dark about the new cell block raising it to 1,500 prisoners when it is finished next week.

Retail manager Ben said: "It was the privacy of the house that appealed to us.

"We knew the prison was some way in the distance - you could only see the lights sometimes at night through the trees.”

He believes it has devalued their property by tens of thousands of pounds."

Ben said he would never have bought the new build home, three years ago, if he had known about the extension which will leave him a stone’s throw from Parc Prison.

He said: "My life is on hold until this is sorted out. We wanted another baby, but we are totally in limbo now.

"I've moved my four-year-old daughter’s bedroom to the front of the house for privacy. Otherwise she is in the eye line of every builder and visitor to the prison site."

They have to listen to the thunder of heavy machinery as they play in the garden with daughter Isla, four.

Ben said other neighbours on the quiet estate had sold up and moved out.

He said: "I saved up for 12 years to buy this house and I wanted it to be our forever home.

"It's put my family under huge strain, financially and emotionally. I've cried tears over the loss of our perfect family home."

"Persimmon homes have offered to purchase our house so I can move up the road.

But the move is dependant on a mortgage application."

Planning permission for the new cell block was only granted after the couple bought their home.

Glyn Mabey, chairman of Persimmon Homes Wales, confirmed the family had been given the chance to move into another new home on their estate.

He said: "We are aware of the concerns of Mr Karrie at our site and have offered the couple the chance to buy an alternate home.

"The prison facility has been there a long time before the homes were.

"We understand the couple are unhappy with the view now that the expansion work is ongoing.

"But we cannot guarantee anyone a view that is affected by building work on land we do not own."

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  • chelsea1955  |  May 22 2014, 7:58PM

    LOOKING AT Bens garden i think the GUESTS at the PRISON WILL LOVE IT FOR A RELAXING AFTERNOON IN THE SUN, sorry Ben but her majestys GUESTS have to be pampered and loved otherwise we will have riot, so i think best for you to move so we DO not upset the GUESTS

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  • christhejac  |  May 22 2014, 4:06PM

    I think hes "Got out of Jail there"!

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  • saeski  |  May 21 2014, 6:57PM

    When buying a house that is that close to a prison surely one runs the risk of this potentially happening? The prison has been there a lot longer than the houses so surely this should have been anticipated at some point. That's like buying a house next to a runway or train tracks and then moaning about the noise, its nonsense!

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  • theparcel  |  May 21 2014, 4:54PM

    The view is from the back bedroom. Welcome to cell block 300..............

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  • swanseagraham  |  May 21 2014, 4:05PM

    "But we cannot guarantee anyone a view that is affected by building work on land we do not own." That's a fair comment and they have offered him a new house on the same estate which I guess they didn't have to do. I really don't know what else he can expect?

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  • wyeiphoneman  |  May 21 2014, 3:59PM

    Notice how the photo is taken from an unusually high angle? - This is because he wants to make the problem look worse than it is, Persimmon have done what they can, got to live with it really.

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