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‘Affordable homes on Holloway Prison site is a priority’ – Corbyn

Labour leader urges public to have say

07 June, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Jeremy Corbyn: ‘For too long private developers have had free rein to buy up public land and build properties that are completely unaffordable for the local community’

JEREMY Corbyn has called the launch of a consultation into what should happen to the Holloway Prison site an “important opportunity for our community to have its say”.

The Ministry of Justice sold the former women’s prison to housing association giant Peabody and luxury homes developer London Square for £82m earlier this year. The Mayor of London provi­ded Peabody with a £42m loan from the Mayor’s Land Fund to buy the site.

Mr Corbyn, the Islington North MP and Labour Party leader, said: “For too long private developers have had free rein to buy up public land and build properties that are completely unaffordable for the local community.

“This consultation is an important opportunity for our community to have its say on the future of the Holloway Prison site.”

The Holloway Prison site

He added: “Our borough needs social homes and genuinely affordable homes built on the Holloway Prison site and that must be the priority for this development.”

The consultation will give attendees “a chance to work from a blank map of the site, see the constraints and leave feedback”.

Peabody have said that they will build more than 1,000 homes with 60 per cent “genuinely” affordable homes. They say that of the 600 or so “genuinely” affordable homes, around 400 will be for “social rent” while the rest will be shared ownership or at London Living Rent prices.

Mr Corbyn said: “It is also absolutely essential that plans for a women’s centre on the site go ahead, in addition to the proposed homeless shelter.”

Peabody had previously said they would allow the prison’s visitor’s centre to be transformed into a temporary shelter for around 40 homeless people.

But Jon Glackin, from homelessness outreach group Streets Kitchen, said he had turned down Peabody’s offer because he was unhappy that there would be security guards based in the downstairs area of the centre.

Residents are invited to a series of consultation events hosted by Peabody and London Square with the first on June 17.

Phil Church, from Peabody’s development team, said: “We’re looking forward to carrying on the discussions and hearing people’s views and ideas.”

For more information go to www.hollowayprisonconsultation.co.uk/

Students’ plans for jail beginning of ‘community planning project’

University College London students at the Town Hall last Friday

A SERIES of development plans for the Holloway Prison site were presented at an exhibition that was hailed by Islington’s housing chief as the beginning of a “community planning project”.

Residents filed into the Town Hall to hear from University College London’s latest design and planning cohort as they displayed their ideas for how the historic women’s prison could be rebuilt.

Alex Clarke, who has lived around Archway for several years, was praised by Diarmaid Ward, Islington’s housing chief, for his suggestion that the prison’s distinctive curvy wall should be retained.

Mr Clarke, 24, said: “One of the things I saw as key was retaining the wall. It was a thing the community saw as representing the spirit of the site. Once it is complete people might start asking questions when they see it: why is there this older bit of material? Then it can start conversations and stories about the history of the site and the suffragettes.”

One of the proposed designs

Scores of suffragettes campaigning for women’s right to vote were locked up in Holloway Prison in the early 20th century.

Women were known to have attacked the distinctive curvy wall that stands at the north-west end of the prison.

There were 14 schemes on display at the exhibition on Friday, May 31, designed by more than 70 post-graduate students.

Cllr Ward said: “This needs to be a community planning project.

“We need to have residents in a room with whiteboards and Post-it notes, with different suggestions. Events like this are absolutely brilliant for that. I loved the idea one student came out with for creating a common area called ‘suffragette square’.”

The designs will be on display again tomorrow (Saturday) at the St George and All Saints’ Church in Lower Holloway.

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