Wellington architect Ian Athfield is cautioning against a major development of the Miramar Peninsula area once the Mt Crawford prison is decommissioned.
The Corrections Department has anounced plans to close the prison, along with the New Plymouth prison and units at Arohata, Rolleston, Waikeria and Rangipo prisons.
The business group Enterprise Miramar says it sees huge potential for commercial development on the Wellington prison site, which abuts 76 hectares of Defence Force land.
Mr Athfield says that would be unwise. "It must be retained as public open space," he says. It's a great peice of land, and cities dont need to expand into this sort of land."
Mr Athfield says the area is also of historical significance both to Maori and to Defence.