Holloway Prison: Sian Berry fears ‘expensive flats’ following new government report
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A leading campaigner for the “community” development of Holloway Prison has called on the government to commit to affordable housing on the site – after a new report made no mention of it.
In the annual public land for housing programme report, released this afternoon, housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell shared no plans for the land – raising fears it could become expensive luxury flats.
Sian Berry, a Green Party London Assembly member, responded: “It’s really disappointing that after Gavin Barwell’s warm words to me in the Assembly about community-led housing, there’s no mention of this option for Holloway Prison in this report about their plans up to 2020 – just that it’s being ready to be sold.
“Holloway is a prime site for affordable housing. There’s a community ready to welcome this change and make the most of it. The last thing they want is the site auctioned off to a developer with the highest bid who would build more expensive flats.
“We can’t miss this chance for Holloway to be a pioneer in a new approach that we know the housing minister is keen to try in London.”
Holloway Prison, in Parkhurst Road, was the largest women’s jail in Europe before it closed in summer last year. In the winter, campaigners – including Ms Berry – launched a “people’s plan” scheme with a focus on community-led development of the site. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called it the “biggest opportunity” in his three decades as Islington North MP to help solve Islington’s housing crisis.
Meanwhile, the campaign continued with a rally at the former visitor’s centre on Saturday afternoon. Demonstrators are calling for the centre to be opened for Islington community groups while the centre is vacant.
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The Department for Communities and Local Government has been approached for comment.