People living near Rye Hill prison say they have been “kept in the dark” about plans to turn it into a national centre for sex offenders.
The Prison Service say the change will help rehabilitate those inside.
But some of those who live nearby are unhappy – and feel they have not been consulted.
Pauline Jones, who lives near Rye Hill Prison, attended meeting a recent meeting in the village hall. She said: “The way it’s all been done is the problem.
“We’re not happy about it on our doorstep anyway but we received a flyer through the door that said they were holding a meeting for residents to discuss some changes that wouldn’t affect us.”
Neighbouring properties to the prison then received another flyer giving them two days’ notice about the meeting.
“A lot of people have been away for half-term so they didn’t have their say,” added Pauline. “When we got there told us that basically they had already started the process.
“When we asked why they didn’t tell us it was going ahead sooner they said they didn’t want to cause us any anxiety. It seems they’d rather us be angry and anxious than just anxious.
“They had a meeting several weeks ago so they could have told us about it then.
“We don’t feel we’ve had the opportunity to protest against it. They don’t seem to care about what it might do to our house prices.”
She said there were a lot of concerned parents who live near the site. Pauline added: “I’d say around 75 per cent of the people who live in this area have children and at the meeting they said that a total of 625 sex offenders would be in the prison and 30 per cent of those would be paedophiles,” she added.
Another resident, a father who wishes to remain anonymous, said the community feels let down.
“I accept that any prison will have sex offenders,” he said. “But they have no right to change the whole dynamics without a proper consultation. We have been kept in the dark and everything has been left until the last minute.”
A Prison Service spokesperson said the move will make the centre more effective.
The spokesperson said: “Accommodating sex offenders together in one prison is more effective, allowing us to focus specialist staff and resources where they are most needed.
“We will continue to build on the quality work HMP Rye Hill is doing with this complex group of offenders, helping us manage the root causes of prisoners’ offending behaviour. The security levels at HMP Rye Hill will remain, ensuring that the public are kept safe.”
The change is due to take place in August.