Residents should have been told more about plans to expand HMP Haverigg earlier than they have.

That is the view of Janice Brown, who represents Haverigg ward on Millom town council.

She was speaking after a meeting between councillors, residents and representatives from HMP Haverigg was held in Millom to discuss the upcoming expansion of the prison.

Earlier this month, Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer announced the capacity at HMP Haverigg would double by expanding the use of existing space.

It will become a Category D open prison, offering offenders approaching the end of their sentence an improved transition into the community following a tough risk assessment.

But councillor Brown said: “The meeting should have happened before the expansion had been decided.

“The governor said everything will be well policed, but I feel like it’s putting the cart before the horse.

“When it was first announced I think few people were unsure what an open prison meant.

“But this meeting has put everyone’s worries to rest.

“They told us everybody who goes out will be very well vetted.

“We will just have to see how it goes.

“If they can do work to help out, that’s good.”

HMP Haverigg is on the site of an old RAF training centre and was converted to a prison in 1967.

Space from the disused sleeping quarters will be brought back into use at the jail which currently holds 268 Category C male prisoners.

Its modification to become an open prison will offer an important test for robustly risk-assessed offenders as they prepare for release.