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

Suggested text for writing to your Councillor

Dear Cllr [your councillor’s name],

Re: St James Street Car Park Site

As a local resident, I am writing to ask you to support the local call to allow Rooms of our Own to build their project at the St James Street carpark site E17 7PJ.

The project would positively contribute to the area and to our community:

the plan to have a café open to all would be a welcome and beneficial addition to St James Street
the plan to have workspaces for startups, businesses and charities for women would help to address the ongoing gender imbalances in society
– good quality passivhaus housing units of a decent size would support the project
the plans would mean Waltham Forest makes its mark in providing both a space for women and a space for all.

I urge you to discuss this issue with your fellow Councillors to build further support towards realising the project.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
[your name]
[your address]

Still a possibility to build Rooms of our Own in Waltham Forest – with your help!

Cllr Clare Coghill, the LBWF Portfolio holder responsible for Property issues, recently told St James Neighbourhood Forum that she hasnt yet decided on the right project for the St James Car Park Site. This is brilliant news as it means we still have a chance of building our amazing and innovative project in E17.
Those of you familiar with Rooms of our Own will know that WE are the right developer and our project IS the right development for this site 🙂 
Please help us to convince the Council also. We do have a number of supportive Councillors, but we need even more. If we can get 4,000 signatures, then the Council will have to have a debate on the issue. We know 4,000 is a lot, but with your help we think we can get there!
Please sign the e-petition HERE
OR  download the paper petition PETITION to Waltham Forest Council w epetition and get 9 more Waltham Forest residents to sign it for us.

Please dont sign the e-petition AND the paper one as that will invalidate the results.


We were offered the opportunity to buy the St James St site by London Borough of Waltham Forest in October 2013. On that basis we procured a GLA grant, engaged  ARCHITECTS and found a developer partner, THORNSETT. We consulted locally and drew up plans  – see Anne Thorne Architects Report and were in detailed discussions with LBWF Planning when we were told the offer was withdrawn. We had over 40 organisations seeking space in the building. Thousands of local people have supported the project, attended our events and want to see Rooms of our Own built on this site.
Given that the site is still empty, our Board of Directors has decided to petition Waltham Forest Council and have one last try to procure the site for this amazing and innovative project that would bring so much benefit to Walthamstow.



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LBWF says no

Very sad to tell you all that after all this time waiting, and all our efforts, and the huge support we have from local women, voluntary organisations, several councillors and officers, and many women and women’s organisations across London, LBWF have today told us NO

Waltham Forest’s asset manager said she was not prepared to accept such a use on that site. Although thousands of local people disagree, it appears it is her professional opinion that carries the day. It is not clear WHY she is not prepared to accept Rooms of our Own, but we are not going to give up our dreams!

We are now actively seeking sites in other London boroughs ….. any ideas and contacts welcome!