IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Secret talks could decide future of Holloway Prison site

24 November, 2017

Campaigners staged a protest at the Holloway Prison site in May

• I FULLY support Ian Shacklock (Will profit be put first? November 17).

The bidding for the Holloway Prison site ended on November 15 and now the government’s agent is in secret “informal tender” discussions.

The London Mayor has asked that the land not be left ‘banked’ – unused – and that building starts quickly. He supports a council plan for 50 per cent genuinely affordable housing but did not bid to ensure this.

A recent report by Shelter revealed that the norm now for new private developments is that initial promises of social housing are reduced by developers on average by 80 per cent.

They can do this if they claim they won’t make 20 per cent profit. So if the deal for Holloway is, say, 35 per cent genuinely affordable then only seven per cent could be expected unless something is done to prevent this.

London has a housing crisis. We urgently need council housing. Even the Prime Minister has admitted this.

The activities of community groups here and elsewhere have had an influence in removing the worst aspects of the 2016 Housing and Planning Act, but we will need more public pressure if we are to get what is necessary in Islington.

Longer term, we need the law to change to allow councils to borrow to build council housing and for secure tenancies to be restored. Those in the expanding rented sector desperately need controls on rent and the quality of accommodation. Again, only public pressure will get this.

ANDY BAIN
Plimsoll Road, N4

 

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