Letter to Laura Farris

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 address: laura.farris.mp@parliament.uk

Dear Mrs Farris,

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.

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 Matt Rodda MP’s ‘Save the Gaol’ petition and also the crowds, including Reading MPs Alok Sharma and Matt Rodda and the Mayor of Reading that joined hands to “hug” the Gaol on October 13th 2019.

Many living beyond the boundaries of Reading Borough, including members of your constituency such as myself, regard Reading as their home town and long for better cultural facilities. However, the benefits of a Reading Gaol Cultural Hub would reach much further. 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,