Battle lines drawn: Housing boss warns Clarion chief exec not to use 53 Tollington Road as ‘cash cow’

Protestors outide 53 Tollington Road. Picture: Supplied

Protestors outide 53 Tollington Road. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Islington’s housing boss will warn Clarion’s chief exec not to use a former Holloway social home as a “cash cow” when they hold crunch talks on the property’s future.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward joined protestors outside 53 Tollington Road this week, which the housing association intends to sell at the earliest opportunity.

The six-bed property, which is split into three flats, was originally earmarked for auction on May 30 but its sale was pulled after the body of 23-year-old Italian national Erik San-Filippo was found in a bin outside the address on May 11.

But a Clarion spokesperson this week said: "It is still our intention to re-enter the property to auction when criminal proceedings have concluded."

Cllr Ward, however, hopes to convince Clarion boss Clair Miller to take the property off the market, now she's agreed to meet him.

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He told the Gazette: "There is certainly a problem that big housing associations tend to be national organisations and because a lot of the time they haven't got any local policies, they might lack local commitment.

"They say things like: 'All our profits fund genuinely affordable homes,' but there is no indication of where.

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"If housing associations are indeed using Islington as a cash cow to build homes in other parts of the country that's a problem."

The housing boss has also set out outcomes he'd find acceptable from the meeting.

His preferred option is that Clarion repair the property and bring it back into use as social housing. If that's "uneconomical", it could commit to building more social homes in Islington to replace the loss - or even buy more homes in the borough and rent them out at social rates.

Clarion says the property would "require significant investment to be brought up to standards and then re-let as a social tenancy".

It claims the revenue from the sale will go into its existing housing stock and building more affordable homes, but it's yet to specify whether the reinvestment would be in Islington.

Clarion says it invested £510million in new homes across the country and about £89m in existing homes. It plans to start a £15m project to improve existing properties in Islington this year - and says it hasn't sold any properties in Islington in the last three years.

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