On Saturday 18 February 12.00 to 13.30 people are invited to gather outside the entrance of the former Holloway prison on Parkhurst Road, N7 to support a call for the building to be opened for public use.
Holloway prison closed last year. It will be three years before any new development begins on the site. Just outside the prison walls is a building that was formerly used as a visitors’ centre for those visiting prisoners. It is modern, accessible and child-friendly. Rather than being left empty until a decision is made about the future of the prison site, the visitors’ centre could be opened immediately for use by the people of Islington.
The organisers say, “We are calling on the Ministry of Justice to loan the visitors’ centre to a partnership of local community groups so that it can be run by them in the community interest. It would be a complete waste to leave such a good resource locked up and unused for years. There are lots of ways the building could be used:
- A very low cost resource to support the work of the many community groups in the borough.
- To provide help to those in the greatest need in our community.
- For community events.”
The prison visitors’ centre was built with the help of charity funds. It is on Government land and managed by the Ministry of Justice. So the land is public land and the visitors’ centre is a public building.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice is planning to sell the land. There is a lot of concern that a private developer will buy the land and build unaffordable luxury flats on the site.
Recently, over 100 Islington residents attended a public meeting in Islington to discuss what should be developed on this large area of public land. People shared a range of views on how the land might be developed. All agreed the needs of the community must come first.
Justice Matters: a community plan for Holloway is a two year community consultation project, independent of government and Islington council. They will be working with local people and community groups to develop a community vision for the Holloway prison site.
In March 2017, they will be launching the first phase of a community consultation.
Visit www.plan4holloway.org.uk to find out more and receive updates on how you can take part in the consultation.