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Demonstrators picket MoJ with call for women’s centre to be at heart of Holloway jail site

Campaigners are unhappy with redevelopment plans

24 September, 2021 — By Helen Chapman

CAMPAIGNERS are calling on the government to give £10million towards services for women at a former prison site.

The Women’s Building Working Group are unhappy with current plans for a women’s building in the redevelopment of the Holloway Prison.

Richard Hope from the Women’s Building Working Group said: “Peabody say they can’t afford to give us more space for a women’s building.

“We would like them to reconsider using a different block at the back of the site and this is where the money comes in. We would prefer to make it a standalone iconic building. We need more space for the services that were lost when the Ministry of Justice closed the prison. We know they are in demand because we are in contact with ex-offenders. We also know it is not just ex-offenders that need those services but it is also women in the community.”

The group is asking the Ministry of Justice to fund a standalone women’s building on the Holloway Prison site. At the moment, the developer, Peabody, say the scheme’s viability is at its limit, while the council say the space on offer is practical and big enough.

Holloway Prison

Mr Hope said: “The ground floor under two tower blocks is not big enough and not what the community has asked for. We want to build a women’s building that will be a national icon and a place designed by women, run by women and built by women.

“The MoJ sold the land to Peabody for £81m and have given nothing back to the community to replace the services that were in the prison and are still needed.”

Melissa Herman from the Community Plan for Holloway said: “We want to get as many people as possible to respond to the consultation.”

The consultation ends in October before Peabody submit a planning application in November.

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “Islington Council is unable to comment on planning proposals at the pre-application stage.”

Peabody’s current plans are available to view at http://hollowayprisonconsultation.co.uk

It did not make a further comment.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Money from the sale of Holloway is being reinvested into the prison estate and will help fund 500 new female prison places – giving women greater access to education, healthcare and employment and supporting them to turn their backs on crime.”

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