Community backs calls for affordable homes & services at Holloway prison

‘More than 500 people have backed the council’s demand that half of the homes on the Holloway Prison site should be “genuinely affordable”‘, reports the Islington Gazette.

A record number of people responded to Islington Council’s draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

The Gazette reports

Two out of three people said they agreed with the council’s housing objectives for the site, and 86% agreed with the demands for open space.

More than 80pc backed calls for community use, with a women’s centre high on the list.

Islington Housing Chief, Cllr Diarmaid Ward is quoted;

The history of the prison will be familiar to all who fight for social justice. Today, this community is fighting for decent housing – for the basic principle that everyone should have a safe, secure home.

This document is an innovative, robust piece of planning with a ringing community endorsement and a very clear message ­– this is publicly owned land, and we demand it be used to benefit the community.

We hope this will deter developers from overpaying and then arguing about the level of affordable housing.

The Gazette’s editorial says that it is imperative for Islington Council to defend the SPD, warning that the Ministry of Justice have already made plain that its main objective is profit;

This is short-sighted: unaffordable housing is a major cause of poverty and inequality, and it isn’t hard to see how both could be linked to crime, which is the reason the MOJ needs cash in the first place.

Backing Islington’s call for genuinely affordable housing on the site might not be the quick cash injection the MOJ wants but it would be entirely consistent with helping bring down demand for prison places.