We have written to the recently appointed Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, David Lidington, urging him to listen to the people of Islington and consider their views and needs in any future decisions about the former Holloway prison site.
The letter is signed by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, Women in Prison, Islington Kill the Housing Act, Islington Trades Union Council, St George & All Saints Tufnell Park Church, Islington Hands off Our Public Services, and Reclaim Holloway.
The letter says:
We believe that the expected sale of the land to private developers risks squandering a golden opportunity to address some of the systemic problems for low income Londoners in finding safe, decent and affordable homes.
The Ministry of Justice have appointed property consultants, GVA Bilfinger, to advise on the sale of the site with the goal of achieving maximum profit to invest in new prisons outside of the capital. A year after the closure of the former women’s prison in North London the site is still empty with little sign that any progress has been made.
Initial findings from a survey with more 450 respondents conducted by the Centre's 'Community Plan for Holloway' initiative, has highlighted that there is strong local support for:
- The land to remain in public ownership
- Genuinely affordable housing
- Community space
- Green space
- Provision of services for women
Rebecca Roberts, coordinator of Community Plan for Holloway said:
A sale to private developers is not a foregone conclusion and there are a range of possibilities available for ownership and management of the site. This is a once in a generation opportunity to create homes, facilities and spaces that benefit the people of Islington.
We hope the Ministry of Justice will listen to the local community and take into account their views and needs.
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.