The independent London newspaper

Time for a greener vision for the former Holloway prison site

30 October, 2020

Former Holloway Prison site

• WE already knew that Peabody received a loan from the GLA to support the delivery of social housing at the former Holloway Prison site.

We have just learned that they have also received £40million of public money from the GLA. All the more reason for the design to provide an exemplary new neighbourhood for the people of Holloway.

A review by the Community Plan for Holloway has found that, as a minimum, the design must deliver a basic set of aims:

— Social housing offering a minimum of 42 per cent of the homes at affordable council rents.

— A “tenure-blind” approach that provides all residents with homes of equal quality and fully shared services accessible to all.

— All homes should have a double aspect for cooling and cross ventilation, and meet the minimum daylight requirements.

This is a critical issue for the wellbeing of residents that responds to our changing climate and Covid-19 which forces people to spend more time at home.

— The old person’s garden shouldn’t be north-facing and surrounded on three sides by tall buildings four to 11 storeys high, for the privacy and comfort of those in the garden.

— For the privacy and wellbeing of residents the design should avoid enclosed courtyards with poor acoustics.

— The access road must be redesigned so it doesn’t cut across the park. This will maximise the amount of public outdoor space, with the roads designed as people-friendly home zones.

— All areas of the park must have generous sunlight to provide a high-quality green infrastructure for residents and the wider community.

— The Women’s Building must provide a meaningful legacy and support a wide range of services for women, specifically, and the local community.

— The Women’s Building garden should at least meet minimum sunlight requirements and for the privacy and comfort of those in the garden, it shouldn’t be overlooked on four sides by buildings seven to 11 storeys high.

— An ambitious environmental strategy must be adopted that establishes this as an exemplary sustainable development, targeting net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Peabody are carrying out an internal review of the initial plans. Now is the time to improve the design, taking local people’s views into account.

We need a new vision that builds for a flourishing, healthy, and green new neighbourhood in Holloway. There are 40 million reasons to get it right.

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