Letter: Peabody plans for Holloway Prison redevelopment need rethink

An artist's impression of what the former Holloway Prison site could look like 

An artist's impression of what the former Holloway Prison site could look like - Credit: Peabody

Natural light and airflow crucial for new housing

Sue Lees, Islington Green Party, writes:

Peabody have been consulting again on their proposed huge development (up to 14 storeys) on the old Holloway Prison site.

Currently Peabody are planning to put 980 homes on the site. This is well over the council’s maximum capacity assessment of 880 homes. The Supplementary Planning Guidance for the site points out that “the scale of this option (880 homes) is judged out of character with the local area. It represents an over-development of the site that risks reducing the quality of the development, levels of residential amenity, daylight and sunlight”. 

There is not much detail in Peabody’s current plans about the internal layout of all the flats, but it is deeply concerning that around 50 flats will only have windows on one side, making for cave-like dwellings with no through drafts. The Victorians discovered the health problems of homes with no through drafts with their back-to-back housing, known also as slums. It also seems that the older people’s flats won’t have dual-aspect windows leaving the rear of the flat with no natural light and air. Surely our Covid experiences have taught us the importance of lots of fresh air for people cooped up at home? Climate change induced heatwaves similarly need homes which offer maximum natural airflow to minimise installation of air conditioning systems.

The masterplanning team for the Holloway Prison redevelopment is led by award-winning architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

The Holloway Prison redevelopment plan - Credit: Peabody

It also seems that much of the estate will get very little sunshine at ground level due to the height of the buildings, though the detail of this is not explained in the consultation material. Experience at the Archway Tower suggests that the wind effect and downdraft between the blocks will also be significant.

The Community Plan for Holloway group have multiple concerns. Their website is here: plan4holloway.org/news-comments/

The council needs to stick to its planning guidance policies, and not allow Peabody to put up too many homes on the site resulting in what turns out to be accommodation with serious deficiencies.

Anybody with any thoughts on this should go to hollowayprisonconsultation.co.uk/exhibitionboards  where you may still be able to send in your feedback. 

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Also write to councillor Diarmaid Ward, who is responsible for housing and development.