Reading prison has been finally sold off by the Ministry of Justice, the Reading Chronicle can confirm.

The Ministry of Justice has today revealed it has struck a deal to sell the historic site to Chinese  company Ziran Education Foundation. 

Details about how much the MoJ has sold Reading prison for are not known yet - the Chronicle has asked them for more information.

The MoJ has been criticised of dragging this process on for a number of years, with Save Reading Gaol campaigning for the site to be protected and brought into community use. 

Ziran Education Foundation describes itself as a "spiritual and holistic' foundation.

A spokesman for the MoJ said that Ziran Education Foundation would 'now engage with Reading Borough Council' over the use of site, with future development plans needing sign off first. 

The MoJ said: "Initial proposals included plans for an educational centre providing services to the local community, including a museum outlining the history of the prison and an exhibition space accessible to the public.   

"Proceeds from the sale will now be reinvested in the wider prison estate to help reduce reoffending and protect the public. In the last decade we have raised over £105m through the sale of former prison sites. "

The historic jail - known as Reading Gaol - once detained Oscar Wilde and hit the international headlines back in 2021 when Banksy adorned one of its walls with his famous artwork.  

Matt Rodda, the Labour MP for Reading East, and Sir Alok Sharma, the Conservative MP for Reading West have been contacted for their views. 

Both MPs have been attended marches and demonstrations calling for the site to be sold to a community bidder with Reading Borough Council support. 

This is a breaking news story. Updates to follow.