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16-storey tower blocks considered for Holloway Prison redevelopment

Up to 1,200 homes with 60 per cent to be let at affordable rates also outlined in Peabody report

20 May, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn at the prison when it was sold to Peabody last year

TOWER blocks as high as 12 and 16-storeys have been considered by developers rebuilding the Holloway Prison site.

Plans to build up to 1,200 homes on the Camden Road site, 60 per cent at “affordable” rates, have also emerged after developers Peabody and London Square submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) scoping report to Islington council.

The report states: “The Development is envisaged to comprise five larger and two smaller blocks ranging from three-storeys to a potential maximum of 16-storeys (including ground floor).”

A Peabody spokeswoman has said that it is more likely that the heights of the building will not rise above 12-storeys but that the 16-storey limit discussed in the EIA report “provides flexibility to amend” the scheme at a later date.

The EIA report states that a “dedicated space for a Women’s Building / Centre” that will support women in the criminal justice system is being considered.

An outline of the plans

There could be 1,800 cycling parking spots as the developers aim to make the site “care-free”, except for the 36 “accessible” car-parking spaces.

A new public park is also outlined in the papers along with 9,500 sqm of open space and 5,500 sqm of play space.

Several community groups have been set up to keep tabs on the scheme including the Community Plan for Holloway (CPFH).

CPFH chairman Will McMahon said: “Proposed building heights of up to 16 stories tall and an overall number of homes up to 1200 will come as a surprise to many of those who have followed this project closely. These numbers are certainly news to the Community Plan for Holloway.

“We will be taking a detailed look and respond to Peabody’s recently published 457 page document to consider what it means for the site. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is that the local community respond to Peabody’s public consultation on the Draft Master Plan when it is launched soon.”

Holloway Prison opened in 1852 and became the female-only prison in early 1900s – the largest in western Europe. In 2015, former justice secretary Michael Gove announced plans to close inner-city prisons and sell sites for housing, reinvesting profits in new buildings.

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

Aoife Conacur, Holloway project director at Peabody said: “We’re about to consult on a draft masterplan for the former Holloway Prison site. This is for around 1050 new homes and a range of building heights from 3 to 12 storeys. It is the culmination of countless hours of work from community groups, residents and individuals, Islington officers and Peabody’s team of architects.

“Part of this lengthy process is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This informs the Environmental Statement, which is to be published when a planning application is submitted. To ensure that the range of impacts arising from height and final number of homes on the site are fully understood, the EIA considers a bigger scheme than has previously been discussed. This provides flexibility to amend the draft masterplan in response to consultation, without causing further delay to the process by having to restart the EIA process later in the year.

“Consultation will start on the draft masterplan soon, and we hope to be able to submit a planning application later in the year for a new affordable housing led development.”

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