600 socially rented homes to be built on Holloway Prison site

600 social rented and other ‘genuinely affordable’ homes will be built on the former Holloway Prison in London, after housing association Peabody bought the site for £80m.

The deal involves a £42m loan from the Mayor’s Land Fund, which has enabled Peabody to buy the site from the Ministry of Justice.

The terms of the sale dictate that Peabody, working in partnership with private developer London Square, must start work by 2022 on over 1,000 homes, of which at least 70% must be social rented and other genuinely affordable homes.

The remaining 30% will either be sold through shared ownership schemes or rented in line with the London Living Rent.

New Start reported on developments in March 2018, when the local community were fighting a bitter battle with the Mayor to ensure the site would not be sold off to developers who would build expensive accommodation rather than affordable housing. The piece concluded by saying that the outcome of the Holloway site would offer a signal for future regeneration schemes across London.

George Osborne announced the closure of the prison in 2015 as part of his £1.6bn prison rebuilding programme yet Holloway was rebuilt as recently as 1985.

‘It seemed that they saw a way they could get income in for their prison rebuilding programme from a high-value land site in the centre of London, where there is lots of development and speculation going on,’ said Will McMahon, head of the Community Plan for Holloway.

Coincidentally, the Peabody deal was announced on International Women’s Day, and the community has been pushing for a vision for the site draws on the history of the prison itself as Holloway housed the Suffragettes and has held several high profile female prisoners.

Niki Gibbs, speaking at a Community Plan for Holloway event last year, said, ‘We believe that a women’s building is an appropriate commemoration of Holloway’s legacy. The women’s building should be community‑owned and dedicated to providing support for women and their families.’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan made the announcement that Peabody would be buying the site today (March 8) from a rooftop overlooking the prison.

He said: ‘For too long, Londoners have rightly been fed up of seeing public land sold off to the highest bidder and then developed with little or no social or affordable housing. We have made sure the Holloway prison site will be different.

‘Our ground-breaking loan to Peabody means the majority of new homes on this site will be genuinely affordable – with around four in 10 of all new homes being for social rent. We’ve developed planning policies with the council that support this, and that also set out how the development should include public green space and a new centre for women.

‘This shows what is possible on public land. We’ve been able to do this even with the limited powers we currently have. Ministers now need to play their part and give us the step-change in investment and powers over land we need to truly fix London’s housing crisis.’


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