Justice Minister responds to our letter

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The Ministry of Justice is planning to put the former Holloway prison site up for sale this autumn. The Justice Minster David Lidington, responding to letter sent by key Community Plan for Holloway stakeholders, said ‘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’ and indicated that ‘redevelopment for a residential-led scheme is the most likely option’. Reporting the move, Property Week describes the sale (subscription) of the ten 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.

Rebecca Roberts, co-ordinator of the Community Plan for Holloway said:

David Lidington writes that the Ministry of Justice is working closely with Islington Council, but all the signs are they have very different visions for the site. Islington say they want to maximise the benefit for a local community while the Ministry of Justice wants to maximise the sale price in order to finance the building 10,000 more prison places outside of London.

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.

The Community Plan for Holloway survey, launched in May, has so far received over 600 responses. A fair summary of responses 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.

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.