Guide to responding to Peabody Masterplan submission Dec 2021

Planning Submission can be found here, click on related documents at the bottom of the page to view all the individual documents. (FYI It does timeout fairly quickly)

Your response will have more weight if you write individual responses, rather than copy and paste. This is a crib guide as to what we see as the concerns with the plans that may help you with your submission.

Our suggestion is to write out your response in Word and copy and paste it into the submission form which can be found here;

Please also send your responses to to ensure that CP4H also has an archive of the community’s views.

Proposed site plan
Proposed ‘Women’s Building’ – Front and back of the single floor under the 12 storey block of flats
The proposed block of social housing flats with the ‘Women’s Building’ Floor at ground level

Key concerns

  • The ‘women’s building’ is not fit for purpose – there is insufficient space for services to meet the needs of women, which is required by the council’s supplementary planning document (SPD). Women’s services estimate that the building should be roughly 4000sqm.  
  • The plans for the ‘women’s building’ are uninformed – no feasibility study has been done to determine the spatial requirements of this building.
  • The architectural design of the ‘women’s building’ is not appropriate for a legacy building of national importance.
  • We propose a design competition among women-led architects to design this building.
  • It should be built entirely by women – from design to construction.
  • The current plans designate the entire ‘building’ as women-only. While some spaces should be women-only, it is important that other spaces are mixed community spaces.
  • The women’s garden, as planned, will be dark, windy and overlooked by many apartments – an inappropriate design for a contemplative legacy garden.

Detailed concerns

1. Overall Master plan

17105_0_(00)_P001_Rev P01-Masterplan proposed site plan.pdf

17105_0_(00)_P010_Rev P01-Masterplan Plot and Building name.pdf

1. Key concerns:

· This development will result in a 20% rise in the population in the borough with the proposed 985 new homes. Islington is already the densest borough in the capital, St Georges Ward (now Tufnell Park Ward), the densest in the borough.

· Lack of open space.

· The Women’s ‘building’ is not a celebratory design.

· Is 12-14 stories is too tall?

· Segregation – No pepper-potting; blocks are either social or private.

· The proposed single aspect flats will be subject to overheating and bad ventilation.

· No proper scoping has been done for an alternative size or location for the Women’s Building.

· There is NO Community Centre or facility for the site.

2. The Women’s Building

Proposed ‘celebratory’ entrance to the proposed ‘Women’s Building’
Proposed rear view of the ‘Women’s Building’ flats from the rear of the park block E2. This is a rather phallic visual representation of the suppression of women’s needs to a single floor under a block of flats with ‘curvy’ balconies that are supposed to reflect women on a site of masculine angular blocks on a legacy site for women.

Block C – C1 and C2 – Lower Ground and ground floors – The Holloway ‘Women’s Building’ (HWB)

Dwg 17105_3_(00)_P100-Plot C-Lower Ground floor.pdf

Dwg 17105_3_(00)_P099-Plot C-Upper Ground floor.pdf

· The ‘building’ is not fit for purpose and visually not a fitting legacy.

· There is insufficient space to meet the needs of women, which is required by the supplementary planning document (SPD).  

· 24/28 respondents did not support the Draft Development Brief for the Holloway Women’s Building.

· No Viability Study or Feasibility study has been done to determine what the spatial requirements of this building should be.

· The original estimate of 800sqm of space for the HWB was not based on an assessment of the needs of women. It was based on the normal community provision by a developer on a site of this size.

· The current plans offer only 20 rooms in the HWB which add up to approximately 920sqm within the 1500sqm space (the remainder 580sqm is taken up by corridors and WC facilities and tea-points). The inadequate draft plans suggest 1200sqm of room space.

· The Design Brief for the Women’s Building states that the building should be trauma-informed. There is no evidence that this evaluation has been carried out.

· All the rooms are indicative of desk-based

· The brief needs to be designed by industry experts, with an understanding of service provision for women.

· The red-brick tiles on the façade are reminiscent of the prison walls and likely to be traumatic for women who have experience of the prison system.

Internal layout

Proposed lower ground floor of the ‘Women’s Building’with divisible Multi-Purpose-Hall
Proposed detailed Floor-plan for the ‘Women’s Building’ where the many organizations that deliver services to women are supposed to come together under one roof and operate on some sort of ‘flexible’ basis. These plans show no understanding of the requirements of the sector or the trauma-informed approach needed for this legacy Women’s Building.

· There is not enough space or rooms in the plan to provide the service delivery required to meet the needs of women (as set out in the SPD).

· There is no HWB shop or museum –a pop-up market stall at the front entrance is not a substitute for a permanent space of memory or place of commerce.

· The discrete entrances accessed through the garden at the back of Block C1 are both next to the creche. Women who have lost their children for whatever reason may find accessing the building this way trauma-triggering.

· The arrangement of rooms is small and of limited use.

· There are no spaces allocated to offices to allow organisations to have permanent, sustainable presence in the building.

· Some of the rooms in Block C1 have no natural light.

· There are no spaces allocated to creative activities.

· The café is too small, only offering 5 tables and is ‘women-only.’

· The kitchen is only 25sqm. This should be big enough to be a training kitchen whilst operating as a serving café.

· The Quiet/Prayer Room is only approximately 11sqm (2.6×4.3m), about the same size as the cells in the prison.

Women Only

· The HWB is designated women-only. This will exclude the wider community and potentially stigmatize the women that do use the building.

· Women would not be able to attend the building with male partners, family members of friends. There would be no opportunity for relationship counselling, social or educational opportunities.

  • Some spaces within the building should be women-only but not the entire building.

Women’s Garden

The proposed Women’s Building garden, suggesting a fully lit garden in spring. This is not an accurate representation of what the Women’s Garden would actually look like
proposed Women’s Building garden, the purple area indicates the Women’s Building Garden and demonstrates how overlooked, dark, drafty, and wholly inappropriate as a reflective tranquil legacy garden for vulnerable and all women.

1947-EXA-ZZ-ZZ-DR-L-00105 Rev P01 Detail Landscape General.pdf

· The garden has always been sold as a quiet contemplative space with lush vegetation and where outdoor activities can take place (images of women doing yoga have been presented) and is supposed to be part of the legacy.

· There is no open space for outdoor activities.

· The garden is overlooked by 3 tower blocks; Blocks C1, C2 and D1.

· The garden is affected by downdrafts that suggest that it will be uncomfortable for sitting.

· The amount of sunlight measured is in areas at the entrance of the garden. Most of the garden will receive considerably less sunlight than is indicated.

· The lush vegetation promised is likely compromised by the lack of sunlight and strong drafts.

· There is no outside paly area for the creche.

· I have a tree that was planted in 2017 from a seed of the main Category A tree (Planted the year the prison opened in 1852), the year after the prison closed. I have offered this tree, which is potted, to have a commemorative space in the plans to symbolise the future living legacy. This offer has not been acknowledged or incorporated.

Flexible commercial floorspace (Use Class E)

17105_0_(00)_P117 Rev P01-Masterplan Lower ground floor

17105_0_(00)_P118 Rev P01-Masterplan Upper ground floor.

· There is no indication of what the commercial space would be used for. All the commercial spaces should be women-led and linked to the Women’s Building in terms of start-up spaces and entrepreneurial businesses.

· No meaningful discussion as to the uses of the commercial spaces has been had. The fear is that this will just be offered to the highest commercial bidder rather than women-led businesses that could further women’s empowerment on the site and contribute to a postiive legacy.

· What would you like to see in the commercial spaces?


· There is nothing in these plans that would entice visitors to the borough and the site, nothing celebrating the site’s history. This development has no unique interest factor except a ‘Women’s Building’ with a women-only café that most of the community will not be permitted to use. The commercial spaces have no transparent plan and there is no ‘living legacy’ proposals in place such as women-led businesses.

· We are proposing that the existing ‘Women’s Building’ become a community/commercial Hub with women-led Bike and IT centres, exhibition and event space, a café, creche and have close connections with an actual Women’s Building that we propose be located in Block E2.

The Community’s’ vision – Block E2 as a Women’s Building:

Community idea of how to incorporate a visionary Women’s Building within the proposed masterplan

We are calling for Block C and E2 to be put aside until a full Feasibility study be done for a Women’s Building and a community facility, however, this is about finding a solution within the current plans. The best possible scenario would be to go back to the drawing board and design an exemplary sustainable community for the future with a celebratory flagship Women’s Building, designed and built by women and meeting the needs of women for generations to come. The true legacy for the prison should be that fewer women end up going to prison in the first place and therefore fewer families broken up.

· A celebratory location.

· Could be designed via a competition of women-led architects, rather than a women-led team within a male-led practice.

· The building should be built by women exclusively.

· The building could be of stunning and iconic design, unique to the site, a real flagship.

· Could share the quiet, contemplative, well-lit gardens with the older peoples’ accommodation.

· The experts that we have spoken to estimate a building closer to 4000sqm. Block E2 could accommodate this possibly with some flats or emergency housing for women on top.

· There could be a whole floor dedicated to creative and skills-learning open to the wider community, Block E1 and women-only on a time-share basis. This way women would be able to learn with appropriate materials and equipment.

Missed opportunity

· These plans offer the Borough of Islington the biggest opportunity in a generation to develop a visionary and sustainable community with a transformative ‘living legacy’ Women’s Building that could help hundreds of thousands of women. In this era of #MeToo and political proclamations of efforts to improve women’s safety and empowerment, the ‘building’ offered here is not fit for purpose, and an insult to the legacy of women imprisoned in Holloway in the struggle for women’s rights. It ignores contemporary evidence of the needs of women, including the voices of experts whose input into this process has been dismissed, misrepresented and ignored.

· The prosperity that our vision could bring to the borough and the capital has been missed by Peabody and by Islington Council. Social housing goes hand-in-hand with social care and positive empowering infrastructure.

· The current plans are insufficient to support women and provide a sustainable future for women’s services in the borough and the city. An opportunity to create a space for holistic, comprehensive services for women is being missed.

· Our call is for Block E2 and the ground and lower ground floor of Block C1 and C2 (currently proposed as the ‘Women’s Building’) to be set aside until the necessary work is done to determine the scope and scale of the Women’s Building and a new model community/commercial hub.

Historical reference

Open July 9th – July 30th 2021 – Submissions can still be made after this date.

We told Peabody the consultation period was too short at only three weeks – they listened and have extended the consultation period but only for one week until Friday 6th August so if you haven’t already submitted your views, please please do it as soon as possible! 

Peabody has released it’s final Masterplan for the Holloway Prison site in Islington, London.


The presentation can be found

Reclaim Holloway’s presentation on the Women’s Building is online here 

Your voice is important NOW! Respond to the Consultation with your Feedback here. See below for some further information and guidence:

Please copy any feedback you write and paste it into an email to so that we can ensure that all your feedback is properly and fairly considered – Thank you!

The Legacy Holloway Women’s Building has changed little since the previous consultation, the extensive feedback from the community, women with lived experience, Service Providers and inustry experts in the Criminal Justice System and Architecture sectors has be largely ignored in favour of Islington Council and Peabody’s ambigious Community Centre model that reduces the legacy Women’s Building to a single split-level floor under under a tower block with ‘curvy balconies’ to represent women in a 10 acre site of 980 new homes.

This is a historic legacy site, hugely important for women, the future of women’s services and sustainable affordable housing. This is a once in a life-time opportunity to provide an iconic transformative Women’s Building in a community of social wellbeing and exemplary quality housing. What is on offer

This is the result of two years of consultation?! Islington Council will not tell us exactly what services will operate from the Women’s Building. We suspect this is because the fact that the only women’s services considered are those for Women’s Criminal Justice Services run by MOPAC, CRC Probation or similar.

NO Feasibility study has been done on how these services will operate. You will be told that this is the biggest community facility in the borough. However, the starting point of a standard 800sqm community facility on the site has been increased to 1400sqm community facility that is being called a Women’s Building as it has approx 350sm of ‘flexible’ space, split into two zones at each end of the building, that has been allocated to women’s services.

Why are Islington Council and Peabody prepared to build, with public money, a specialist Women’s Building, that specialist services are supposed to operate from, a single floor arbitary collection of rooms in a community centre that are magically expected to deliver diverse and specialist services from?

Some points to think about….

Is this single split-level option a fitting legacy for the prison and women?

Exactly what services do women need in the Holloway Women’s Building?

What type and provision of space do Women’s Services need to operate from and deliver quality provision?

How will women’s services will be run from the Women’s Building? The proposed ‘flexible room’ option is a community centre model. Services will have to book and share space on an time-share basis.

What is missing? – An Art and Creative department A women-only Cafe A shop Office space Specific Women’s Services General Social Services A multi-Faith room Emergency Housing Inrergraion with the commercial spaces so much more!

What is included? A Creche A Multi-Purpose Hall A reception A General Cafe Some flexible room space for Women’s Services (2 x 175sqm approx.).

Is this an Iconic? Transformative Living Legacy Women’s Building?

Is a ‘flexible room’ model suitable for the delivery of Women’s Services?

Is it Trauma-Informed? Many women who have been to prison may not want to use a building that is remiscient of the prison with red brick, heavy brutal entrance. Does this celebrate women? Why do women wanting to learn or enjoy creative activities have to share with the Creche (Children first!) and the Multi-Purpose Hall (not very private even with partition walls? Where are the tables and artwork stored? Why is there a discrete entrance next to the front entrance? Why is the women’s service area split in two, making women walk through general areas or around the outside of the building to traverse between the two?

Why do women have to bend to the NEEDS of the Building, rather than the building serving the NEEDS of women?

Is this ‘Women’s Building’ (the block of flats with curvy balconies to celebrate women in a 10 acre field of masculine angular housing blocks), highlighted as inappropriate by the community and experts, really celebrating and empowering women and to be able to offer any meaningful help to women?

These are the only two slides in the presentation relating to the Women’s Building. The slide below gives a more dtailed view.

Is the small over-shadowed North-facing Women’s Garden a suitable legacy space? This garden is behind a 14 storey block of flats.

Why has none of the expert, lived experience, and community feedack, specifically for the Women’s Building been dismissed and ignored?

Why are all the main decision makers MEN? (in this case all whom have housing as their priority).

Why have no other options have been explored? The plans are based on a draft brief prepared by Islington Council, not experts in women’s services. This brief is not based on a schedule of services to be provided within the building and only approx. 350sqm in the 1400sqm community facility is actually dedicated to women’s Services, split into two zones at either end of the building. The fact that Islington Council and Peabody underestimated what a Legacy women’s Building should be is not an excuse for not providing the space that experts say is required. We estimate around 4000sqm would facilitate the services that the experts deem necessary.

Why are women not at the heart of this legacy development? not just a tokenistic nod. These facilities are located at the noisy and polluted front of the site, far from the play area and central public open space.  No information is given on whether rooftop play is still proposed, or about access for the public. Why does the whole site not reflect legacy?

Are the many mature trees shown the existing ones?– The artist’s illustrations are unlikely to be representative of the initial planting scheme.

Why is there a Stand-Alone Older Person’s complex, while it there is apparently absolutley no way to fit a Stand-Alone Women’s Building? Is this a legacy site for older people? How big is the Older Person’s complex? (This has been added since the last Draft Masterplan). Providing an art department in the Women’s Building would be an amazing community asset for the older generation and encourage inter-generational learning.

Would you travel across London to visit this Legacy Women’s Building?

Is this the Women’s Building of ‘Striking Design’? Of National and international importance?

There was so much hope and ambition at the beginning of this process. So much has been learned, shared and given to informing what the Women’s Building needs to be, yet this single floor is all that is offered!

Reclaim Holloway London Festival of Architecture June 2021 – Summary of discussion


Do reply to the consultation here, and send a copy of your text to

You can also sign the petition

Your teatamonies are also welcome which you can find a link to once you have signed the petition – Please share!!

Initial thoughts on this consultation can be found here

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