The independent London newspaper

Prison site issues are of concern

10 July, 2020

Concerns regarding the plans for the Holloway Prison site

• WE are concerned residents living in the immediate vicinity of the Holloway Prison site and absolutely support plans to build genuinely affordable housing there.

However Peabody Housing wants to build 1,050 houses.

• The consultation for the draft masterplan, 21 days, was totally unacceptable for the largest housing development in Islington for 30 years.

• Islington is the densest populated borough in the country, with the second lowest proportion of green space (as a proportion of overall land), and the second-lowest amount of open space, of any local authority in the country.

The proposal will undermine the existing state of its biodiversity with the removal of seven garden areas. The green space on the proposed plan runs completely counter to the expressed wishes of local people.

• A smaller number still meets a significant proportion of Islington’s housing need. The Greater London Authority expects Islington to deliver 2,910 homes from “large site developments”.

The proposed Holloway site will deliver 36 per cent of Islington’s large-site housing objectives over the whole of the next 10 years.

• Astonishingly, as we face catastrophic climate breakdown, there is no environmental impact study and the proposal actually reduces the ecology of the site.

• The proposed buildings will have a seriously deleterious effect on local residents, particularly in Penderyn Way, including problems of overlooking and blocking light.

• They are already building new blocks at the ex-Territorial Army site in Parkhurst Road. Planning permission has been sought for 112 homes on a 0.58 hectare site with scant provision for green space.

If the prison site were to follow this precedent for its 4.05 hectare site it would amount to 781 dwellings not 1,200 – much lower if green space is to be provided.

• You don’t solve one problem by creating another. (Out of town supermarkets – death of the high street; plastic wrapping to keep food fresh – the global plastic disaster; airports – the biggest contributors to climate change; diesel cars – millions withdrawn.

• Creating tomorrow’s slums; high-quality, high-density, housing developments in the past were presented with utopian ideals and public fanfare. Many became dysfunctional for residents and cost billions to regenerate.

• Paying the price for other people’s mistakes Boris Johnson allowed 480 tower blocks to be built in London, changing the landscape of the capital more than Christopher Wren. Vast numbers of these went to the super-rich and off-shore investments.

There is plenty of housing in London, it is just in the wrong hands and we are being asked to pick up the tab by an over-the-top development.

In inner-London, and Islington in particular, where land availability for development is scarce, demand-side measures have played a large role in increasing unaffordability.

Only when these macro issues are resolved, and where proper, focused, supply-side measures (such as freeing up councils to build housing, and focusing grant-funding on delivery of housing tenures which meet defined need not aspirations) are put in place can a true picture of the housing market be ascertained.

This is beyond the power of the council, but it is important to understand these issues when planning for the future of the borough. And to ensure other development needs are not overlooked.

• We are concerned about the potential impact of 2,000+ more residents on an already overstretched social infrastructure. Little thought has been given to noise levels and the night-time economy.

• The development needs to be a fitting legacy given the site’s history of more than a century of state-sanctioned violence and oppression against women.

The Women’s Building needs to be a key component and Peabody’s plans and process have not taken the women-led approach that is fitting.




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