Economist Saul Eslake says he can understand why some Westbury residents might hold concerns that a new prison in their backyard could negatively affect property prices in the area.
The state government this week announced the beginning of consultation for its proposal to build a prison on a 41.5 hectare site two kilometres north of Westbury.
It's expected that 250 people will eventually be employed at the $270 million prison at the Westbury Industrial Precinct, which will have 270 beds once fully up-and-running.
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The Northern prison was a key election commitment of the state government in 2018 and part of its $350 million prison infrastructure program.
Stage one of the construction phase is expected to be completed by 2024, while stage two is expected to be completed by 2029.
Real Estate Institute of Tasmania president Tony Collidge has said he doesn't think a prison would affect property prices in the Westbury area, noting that Risdon Prison in the state's South "hasn't really had an impact on house prices at Risdon Vale ... or Geilston Bay".
But Mr Eslake said he could see why some Westbury residents might be concerned.
"I can understand why people think it [will affect house prices]," he said.
"Risdon Vale is predominantly public housing anyway whereas Westbury is obviously a long-established historic town where I suspect almost all of the houses, bar a few, are owned privately.
"So that's understandable and some thought needs to be given to that."
Mr Eslake said $270 million was "a fairly significant sum" for the "fairly small area" of the Meander Valley and that the prison was "probably a positive thing".
"I suspect a lot of the workers will come from Launceston, but that's not really a problem," he said. "Launceston could do with some job-creation, as well."
Former independent McIntyre-West MLC Greg Hall, who was vocal on the importance of a Northern prison during his time in State Parliament, cited the example of the Ashley Youth Detention Centre near Deloraine as being a similar facility that had "actually provided ... an economic stimulus to a regional area".
"I've always argued the case that not everything in the public sector should be located in Hobart," he said.
Mr Hall said a Northern prison would provide "equality" for prisoners with family living in the North and North-West of the state.
"[About] half the prisoners [in Tasmania] come from [the Northern part of the state]," he said.
"It ... gives an opportunity for improved rehabilitation if the families [of prisoners] are much closer and they're able to access visitation."