Letter to Alok Sharma

Please feel free to use the following as a starting point for an email to your MP about the fate of Reading Gaol. You can copy and paste into your email application.

Email addresss: alok.sharma.mp@parliament.uk

Dear Mr Sharma,

I understand the Ministry of Justice is again marketing Reading Prison (AKA Reading Gaol) for sale after it decided the Council’s £2.6 million bid was not of a high enough monetary value.

As you know there is a strong local support for the concept of having the Gaol as such a facility for Reading and beyond. This has been emphatically shown in the crowds, including yourself, Matt Rodda and the Mayor of Reading that joined hands to “hug” the Gaol on October 13th 2019.

The benefits of a Reading Gaol Cultural Hub would reach far beyond Reading. It would enable Reading to consolidate its strengthening cultural offer and provide a significant tourist attraction. The site of Oscar Wilde’s incarceration would draw people from afar, economically benefitting the wider region.

In light of all this, it would be sad if the Ministry of Justice were to go against the swell of local opinion and the wishes of the local council and sell this valuable historic site to the highest bidder to convert into housing or a hotel.

This would be a triumph of a blinkered short termism against a more imaginative and ultimately more economically beneficial decision. The opportunity to make Reading Gaol the world class destination it deserves to be is a unique one that will never come around again.

Yours sincerely,