Response to Islington’s approval of the plans for Holloway from CP4H’s Women’s Building Working Group

10th March 2022 

Response to Planning Meeting held in public 8th March 2022 

Former Holloway Prison, Parkhurst Road, London, N7 0NU – P2021/3273/FUL A tragic day for Women’s Services. 

On International Women’s Day, 8th March 2022, Islington Council has seriously  compromised the future of women’s services in London. The 4600sqm of room space  afforded to women in Holloway Prison has been reduced to approx. 920sqm of room space  in a 1489sqm single floor under a tower block. This is very far from the iconic landmark  transformative legacy Women’s Building that women were promised. 

When asked who Peabody had consulted on the design of the Women’s Building, they quoted ‘The Finsbury Park Women’s Group, women’s services and CP4H’ as their  consultees. 

What did they hear in those “consultations”? CP4H rejected the plans outright. We know  that Peabody didn’t consult with any of the expert organizations that have served in this  field for years: Women in Prison, Howard Society, Holloway United Therapies. The Finsbury  Park Women’s Group does not appear on the Council’s own directory of community  organizations, and is not one of those that operated in the prison. And only 4 out of 28  women’s service providers and individuals consulted – very briefly, and with minimal  information – by the Council agreed with the plans (this is shown in the Council’s own  documents). 

The fundamental issue of space for the Women’s Building was again not addressed by the  Council, instead the argument about who will pay to fit out this not-fit-for-purpose space  continued. Peabody said they will make “every effort” to seek external funding to fit out the  Women’s Building before it asks the Council to pay for it from their CIL fund. Peabody have  made no effort to apply the community’s and the women’s service sector needs to the  Women’s Building so far, what faith does anyone have that they will make any appropriate  effort in the future when they know the Council will pay up in the end? 

All the questioning after the representations was directed at the applicant, no questions  were asked of the objectors. Councillors’ questions were met with a repetition of Peabody’s  position and no meaningful movement on any issue. All the concerns of local residents  about the overshadowing and impacts of the overdevelopment and lack of community  facilities were not addressed or dismissed.  

Yet, with a plethora of uncertainty around the whole scheme’s viability, the promise of over  400 social homes swayed the Councillors to approve the plans, condemning women to once  again severely compromise their needs. But Islington’s women need decent homes and key  support services that could save, repair and empower their lives. 

This was the biggest snub to women imaginable on International Women’s Day. Shame on you Islington Council

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