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Our response to Islington Council draft planning brief

We have responded to Islington Council’s consultation on the draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the Holloway prison site.

In our response, we provide a summary of findings from our survey and make the following points;

  • There is strong local interest and recognition of the potential of the Holloway prison site. It is important the local community are fully involved in how the site is developed.
  • The land has value not just in monetary terms, but as a community asset for the people of Islington and for women in London. With other prisons across London earmarked for closure (including Pentonville), what happens at Holloway is incredibly important. The Holloway prison site can set an important benchmark for the disposal of prison sites and public land.
  • Housing – and in particular, affordable housing at the Holloway prison site – is a key priority for the community. As explained in the SPD, housing targets have been met by Islington Council in recent years – but ‘affordability has not improved, rather it has worsened’. This is clearly something the local community is aware of and wants to see addressed.
  • In response to our question asking what do people not want to at the Holloway site, ‘unaffordable luxury flats’, followed by ‘private housing’, ‘high-rise’, ‘gated or privatised space’ and ‘private development’ were listed. The implication here is that the public want the land to remain in public ownership and/or publicly accessible to all.
  • Our findings also suggest concerns about high-rise, high-density developments. A range of scenarios have been outlined by Islington Council of between 400 and 900 homes. The Ministry of Justice’s agents, GVA Bilfinger, are currently advertising the site claiming it has the potential for a residential development of ‘over 1,000 apartments’.
  • The public have been very clear that they want more than just housing on the site. They identify a range of other publicly accessible spaces and facilities including community space, green space, community services, and provision for different groups, including young people and women.
  • Of the responses we had from community groups, housing was once again the key priority, followed by ‘women’s provision’. This was also echoed in the responses from women in the criminal justice system and adds further support for the proposal for a women’s building as detailed in the SPD.

Download a full copy of our consultation response (pdf).