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Housing campaigners demand Peabody build 600 social homes in HMP Holloway site

PUBLISHED: 14:54 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:55 01 August 2019

Holloway Prison pictured in the late 1990s while still a functioning jail. Picture: Rebecca Naden

Holloway Prison pictured in the late 1990s while still a functioning jail. Picture: Rebecca Naden

PA Archive/PA Images

Campaigners are urging Peabody to let all 600 "genuinely affordable" homes built in the former Holloway Prison site at Islington Council's social rent levels with permanent tenancies and "no hidden service charges".

Housing campaigners want the old Holloway Prison visitor centre, right, to provide shelter for rough sleepers. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PAHousing campaigners want the old Holloway Prison visitor centre, right, to provide shelter for rough sleepers. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA

Islington Homes for All (IHFA) have published a charter detailing its key demands for the 10-acre Parkhurst Road site, including requests for no "poor doors" or segregated space and that the development is "environmentally responsible".

The group is also calling on Sadiq Khan to make public the terms of the £42million loan given to Peabody via the Mayor's Land Fund to enable its £82m purchase of the site from the Ministry of Justice in March. But the Greater London Authority (GLA) rejected a Freedom of Information request asking for the information in May, claiming disclosure "could harm the commercial interests of the GLA and Peabody".

Subject to planning permission, developer London Square is due to start work to build 1,000 homes on the site in 2022, with a view to finishing by 2026.

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A minimum of 60 per cent must be "genuinely affordable" - at social rent, for shared ownership or the mayor's "London Living Rent". As it stands, 400 homes (or 42pc) of the development will be for social rent - but IHFA want the full 60pc to be social homes and are urging people to sign a charter supporting their calls.

They said: "We're very concerned these pledges allow too many loopholes for developers. Their track-record on providing homes for social rent is very patchy. Two-thirds of the homes they build each year are actually for the private market and the 'affordable rents' are significantly more expensive than council rents."

The council's supplementary planning document dictates that a minimum of 35pc of any development must provide social rent housing.

A Peabody spokesperson said: "We are going to be delivering 60pc affordable housing across the Holloway site, 70pc of which will be let at social rent levels.

"The rents will be agreed by the council through the planning process. Our proposals for around 1,000 homes align with the priorities of the mayor of London, and would represent a significant addition to the supply of much-needed, genuinely affordable housing in Islington."

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