The Islington Tribune has published a letter from members of the Islington Archaeology and History Society calling for council homes to be built on the the Holloway and Pentonville prison sites.
With Holloway and Pentonville prisons closing there are two very large areas of land already in public ownership, where purpose-built social housing should become the priority.
The numbers on the council waiting list are known, and it is hard to estimate the numbers of “sofa surfers”.
Considering the prisons were “home” to numbers of our fellow citizens, it makes sense that the lands should site new homes for local people who, through their taxes, funded these institutions.
The land should not be sold off, but handed to Islington Council to build suitable and genuinely affordable accommodation for some of the many thousands on the local waiting list.
The Mount Pleasant site alone could have solved the entire housing needs of Clerkenwell. The Holloway and Pentonville sites present a once-only chance to address the immediate housing needs of Islington.
The Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury was the first to introduce its own council housing. There is an opportunity for Islington to build on its legacy. We have one chance to do this.
ANDREW GARDNER, ZENA SULLIVAN,
and History Society
Note: Holloway prison closed in 2016. Pentonville prison is still open and no formal announcement has yet been made about its closure.