Peabody extends Holloway Prison consultation after coronavirus lockdown
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Peabody has extended its consultation on plans for the Holloway Prison site until the end of the month, after housing campaigners complained many potential participants might not have been able to contribute because of coronavirus lockdown.
The housing association’s initial three-week consultation on proposals to build up to 1,050 new homes in a car-free development on the former prison site in Parkhurst Road began on June 12.
An exhibition on the plans should have been held in person, but the coronavirus pandemic forced Peabody to move the draft masterplan consultation online.
It has now been extended until August, following calls from Islington Homes For All (IHFA) for an extension until September because many people were “shielding and pre-occupied with the health and economic impacts of coronavirus”.
IHFA wants at least 60 per cent of the flats to be social housing at council rent levels, to house some of the thousands on Islington Council’s waiting list.
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“This is the only housing type that is affordable for local people on median and lower incomes,” they said.
“Peabody had a reputation as a benevolent provider of housing for the poor but now, with government changes to laws, they act as other housing associations, to maximise their profits through selling off as many of the properties as possible and making the rents as high as possible.”
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Peabody, which received a £42m loan from the Mayor of London to buy the site for £81.5m off the Ministry of Justice, has mooted plans for 60pc affordable homes - but this is includes shared ownership housing, and London affordable rent levels which are based on 2016 social rent levels. Peabody leases out 5,500 homes in Islington, with the average rental rate for a two-bed home standing at £150 a week.
A spokesperson said: “We think these are genuinely affordable rents. Since 2017 we have completed 347 new homes in Islington and 64pc of those have been for social rent. That’s £100m of investment to deliver hundreds of social rented homes, and does not suggest we are losing our social purpose and we are about maximising profits.
“Every penny we do make in profit is reinvested into building more homes and maintenance, and we don’t have shareholders.”
Peabody will hold another consultation with more detailed plans in August, and hopes to submit a planning application by autumn. View the plans at hollowayprisonconsultation.co.uk/exhibitionboards/.