The independent London newspaper

Holloway prison site sale feeds free market beast

06 July, 2018

The Holloway Prison site

• THERE will not be a right time to sell off the Holloway Prison site. The reason why housing costs are high is because the price paid for land is arrived at by subtracting the cost of development from the projected value of the housing that can be built on it.

The projected value of housing is found by reference to local secondhand house prices, plus an allowance for inflation.

The government commissioned a study of the time that can elapse after a developer obtains full planning permission before houses are completed. Last week the results were published as “Independent Review of Build Out Rates”.

What the study reveals is that houses on large estates are only completed at the rate at which the developers consider the open market will absorb them without reducing the asking price. According to the report, this can take not just years but decades.

From the day that land has been sold to the developer at an inflated price it has to recover its investment. If housing is unaffordable now then it will be unaffordable for years to come.

To sell the prison site would simply be to feed the insatiable beast that is the free market and further delay a return to housing affordability.

There should be a national moratorium on the sale of any publicly-owned land. Such land as the Prison Service does not need should be used for new council housing.

Tollington Park, N4


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