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Holloway Prison: 1,000 homes to be built by Peabody after £42m loan from Sadiq Khan

PUBLISHED: 10:07 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:08 08 March 2019

From left, deputy mayor for housing and residential development James Murray, Peabody chair Sir Bob Kerslake, Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan. Picture: Polly Hancock

From left, deputy mayor for housing and residential development James Murray, Peabody chair Sir Bob Kerslake, Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

More than 400 homes for social rent will be among 1,000 built on the Holloway Prison site after Sadiq Khan loaned housing association Peabody £42million to buy the land.

Holloway Prison closed in 2016. Picture: Polly HancockHolloway Prison closed in 2016. Picture: Polly Hancock

The landmark deal, announced this morning, will see a minimum 60 per cent of the total number of homes classed as “genuinely affordable” – at social rent, for shared ownership or the mayor’s London living rent. Under the terms of the loan, more than two fifths of the homes overall will be for social rent.

Half of the £82million cost to buy the land from the Ministry of Justice comes from the “mayor’s land fund” and will also pay for public green space and a centre for women.

After George Osborne closed the women’s prison in 2016, Sisters Uncut occupied it, calling for it to be used to support victims of domestic violence. Campaign groups Reclaim Holloway and Islington Homes for All have also called for the centre.

Peabody will work with developer London Square on the project, which will begin in 2022 subject to planning permission and aim to finish by 2026. City Hall worked with Islington to ensure affordable homes were included.

HMP Holloway site. Picture: Jonathon Brady/PA ArchiveHMP Holloway site. Picture: Jonathon Brady/PA Archive

Mr Khan, 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.

“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.”

It brings to an end a tense three-year battle over the fate of the 10-acre site, which had been earmarked as one of London’s biggest opportunities for affordable housebuilding. Some 14,000 people in Islington alone are on the waiting list for homes.

The Holloway Prison site from a neighbouring rooftop. Picture: Polly HancockThe Holloway Prison site from a neighbouring rooftop. Picture: Polly Hancock

Islington set out its stall in 2017, consulting on a supplementary planning document (SPD) stipulating that at least 50 per cent of any development there would need to be affordable to gain planning permission. The SPD was ratified the following year.

A campaign in 2018 had also called unsuccessfully for Mr Khan to buy the land outright.

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “The Holloway Prison site is one of enormous significance for Islington. Aside from its historic importance, it also represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver a considerable amount of much-needed, genuinely affordable housing for local people.”

Brendan Sarsfield, chief executive of Peabody, said: “As well as providing new homes we will also ensure social infrastructure and placemaking are at the heart of our proposals.”

Sir Bob Kerslake chair of Peabody and Jeremy Corbyn MP look at the Holloway Prison site. Picture: Polly HancockSir Bob Kerslake chair of Peabody and Jeremy Corbyn MP look at the Holloway Prison site. Picture: Polly Hancock

Islington’s London Assembly member Jennette Arnold OBE said the “fantastic” deal showed Mr Khan and Islington Council were leading the way when it comes to housing.

She added: “With the majority of homes on this site genuinely affordable, this is a deal which serves the local community and I hope it sets the bar for future developments on public land.”

Prisons minister Rory Stewart said: “The sale of Holloway will help drive forward our commitment to replace ageing prisons with modern, purpose-built establishments - I am determined to see this money reinvested to improve rehabilitation and ultimately reduce reoffending.

“We have worked closely with the local authority and others to ensure the amount of affordable housing on the site meets local needs, and I am pleased we have achieved this aim while giving good value to taxpayers.”