The Ministry of Justice is planning to put the former Holloway prison site up for sale this autumn. The news came in a letter from the Justice Secretary, David Lidington, to our Director, Richard Garside.
In the letter, Mr Lidington wrote that 'we will be seeking expressions of interest for the site from interested parties ahead of formal marketing which we expect to take place in the autumn'. Mr Lidington also indicated that 'redevelopment for a residential-led scheme is the most likely option'.
Reporting the move, Property Week describes the sale (subscription) of the 10 acre site as ‘controversial’ and claims GVA Bilfinger, the company hired by the Ministry to assist with the sale, believes the development opportunity is likely to be one of the most significant in the London market this year.
In his response to our letter, the Justice Minister claims his department is working closely with Islington Council on the future of the site. Yet all the signs are that the Council and the Ministry have very different visions for the site. The Council have indicated that they want to maximise the benefit for a local community short on affordable housing and community facilities. The Ministry of Justice, on the other hand, wants to maximise the sale price to help finance the building of 10,000 new prison places.
Through our 'Community Plan for Holloway' initiative, we have received almost 600 responses to the community survey we launched in May, asking those who live and work in Islington what they would like to see happen to the Holloway site.
A fair summary of responses received so far would be that community development is top of local concerns. The idea of selling the land for the maximum value to enable the building of more prison places outside of London receiving no support what so ever.
We will continue to work with the local people, Islington Council, and other partners to ensure that the preference of the local community are placed front and centre in any plans for the future of the site.
Community Plan for Holloway will be holding and Open Day on Saturday 30 September, from 12.30 to 4pm, at St George’s Church, Crayford Road N7, where the final findings of the survey will be reported. Islington residents, voluntary sector and campaigning organisations will be discussing how to ensure that the development of the Holloway site is focused on the maximum community benefit.
Community Plan for Holloway is working in coalition with local people and community groups to put forward a positive vision for the former Holloway prison site in Islington, North London. The project is run by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and funded by Trust for London.
Visit the Community Plan for Holloway website to find out more and take part in the online survey.