Newsletter: 15 March 2017

Welcome to our first newsletter reporting on updates and events on the closure and redevelopment of the former prison site in Holloway, Islington. 

A Community Plan for Holloway is working alongside local people to influence the future development of the former women’s prison. The prison closed in 2016 and the government is planning to sell the land to fund the building of new prisons outside London. There is a risk that the land will be purchased by private developers who will prioritise unaffordable luxury flats.

Share your views with Islington Council on their discussion paper setting out possible future uses for the site and planning guidance. The paper suggests that the site could deliver much needed housing for the borough and that consideration may be given to a women’s centre or building to honour the history of the site. The Council says that it will be some time before construction begins. It’s therefore important to respond at this early stage to influence the outcome.

To read the Islington Council discussion paper and respond to the consultation, visit the council’s website here. The deadline for responses is Monday 10 April 2017.

A women’s building for Holloway is the central demand of a new campaign from Women’s Resource Centre (WRC). We co-hosted a meeting of women’s organisations to discuss the need for a women’s building in London. Maureen Mansfield of WRC has written about the possibilities in an article here.

It’s fantastic to see growing local interest and support for the idea that the prison site could be used for the benefit of the community, as detailed in an article in the latest issue of Red Pepper magazine. Andy Bain of Islington Kill the Housing Act, was interviewed for the article and said;

“In both a local and national context, what happens at Holloway is very important. It should be remembered that the Holloway site is still owned by the government and is, in effect, public land. It could fire the starting gun for a new council house building revolution.”

Why don’t you pop along to talk to Islington Kill the Housing Act on Saturday 25th March 2017 when they will be running a stall from 11am at the Nag’s Head Shopping Centre on Holloway Road (near Burger King).

In February, local residents and organisations gathered outside the prison to demand that the Ministry of Justice opens up the visitors’ centre. The building is modern, accessible and child-friendly building and suggestions for how it could be used included an advice centre, women’s space, youth centre or community cafe.

With the future of the Holloway yet to be determined, Sarah Uncles has written about what happened at the sites of other closed prisons. Sarah identifies how the land was used and highlights important lessons to be learned. Read her article in full here.

Coming soon…. Next month, we will be publishing a report on the issues facing the people of Islington and launching an online survey to ask about people’s priorities for the site.

We’ll keep you posted on developments, but you can help us by spreading the word and getting in touch if you have ideas and thoughts on how we can reach out to everyone in Islington.