St James St Car Park

You will all know that we were in the process of buying the Car Park site when Cllr Coghill reneged on the deal.

So when we saw that LBWF were asking for expressions of interest for a “temporary use” we submitted our proposal. EXPRESSION OF INTEREST

This was an extremely innovative proposal providing cheap no-bills housing for young people in return for their input into activities on the site. There would have been a whole range of affordable pop-up options, growing spaces and genuine community involvement.

So we are sad to see that Waltham Forest Council have gone with CRATE instead. This is about business, business rates etc not community. Sure that there are many businesses that will welcome CRATE and we wish them all the best.


ASH Architects for Social Housing

Rooms of our Own attended an ASH event at the ICA on 15th August where Co-Ops for London launched their report. Co-operate not Speculate

Exciting to hear about a number of successful co-operatives, but also sad to hear how many groups are really struggling in the current climate to find land, funding, people with enough time and energy to get projects off the ground.

However encouraging to hear that some of the more established co-ops such as Sanford are looking to help new groups move forward.

ASH meeting 170815

RUSS Workshop

Lewisham’s Rural Urban Synthesis Society, more easily referred to as RUSS, is doing really well. Rooms of our Own attended a RUSS workshop on Community Led Housing on July 15th led by Kareem. Lots of great speakers and so encouraging to see this whole movement beginning to take off. We also met John Struthers from Walthamstow’s own Headway Self-Build Collective.  read more here

Kareem puts us all to work

russ workshop

Holloway Prison Site

Many of you will know that the Holloway Women’s Prison has been closed and the women sent out of London to prisons elsewhere. The Ministry of Justice want to sell the site. Probably to a developer for luxury flats. This IS Islington after all. There is a huge campaign going on locally for the site (which is really ours anyway as our taxes have paid for it over the decades) to be given to the community to build genuinely affordable housing PLUS a Women’s Building. Campaigners in Reclaim Holloway and Centre for Crime and Justice studies want to recognise the history of all the suffering on the site (suffragettes were imprisoned there) and to offer services to ex-prisoners and vulnerable women with a Women’s Building. Rooms of our Own has offered our model. This is the most recent communication from CCJ


The Ministry of Justice has announced it is planning to put the former Holloway prison site up for sale this autumn.

In a letter to the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, Justice Secretary David Lidington writes that ‘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’. Mr Lidington also indicated that ‘redevelopment for a residential-led scheme is the most likely option’.

Reporting the move, Property Week describes the sale (subscription) of the 10 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.

The Community Plan for Holloway survey has now had almost 600 responses, many indicating they do not want to see the Ministry of Justice selling the land to the highest bidder because of fears this will lead to the development of unaffordable luxury flats. There is a clear preference in survey responses received so far for a development that meets community needs.

It’s been a long time!

We know we havent posted much information lately, but we HAVE been busy. We have been liaising with all kinds of exciting and helpful organisations and individuals. We have been meeting and meeting and meeting with all kinds of public and private and social enterprise bodies who might help us pin down that elusive site. We are still pursuing a number of possible opportunities and will post IMMEDIATELY there is anything definite. Of course the original St James St site is still empty ….. hmmm. We have even been considering moving out of London …. there are possibilities in Manchester.

Anyway, here is an image of some of the people and organisations we have been working with in the last months. If we have missed you out apologies!  Hard to keep track of all those coffees sometimes 🙂

Microsoft Word - what we have been up to strings