Khan gives Holloway Prison scheme social rent boost

The mayor of London Sadiq Khan will help Peabody guarantee that 70% of the site's affordable homes will be made available for social rent.
The outer walls of Holloway Prison in Islington, London.
The outer walls of Holloway Prison in Islington, London. Credit: N19±/Creative Commons.

70% of the affordable homes to be delivered at the former Holloway Prison site will be made available for social rent, the mayor of London Sadiq Khan has confirmed.

The scheme, set to be delivered by London housing association Peabody in partnership with the developer London Square, will deliver 60% ‘genuinely affordable’ homes, with over 40% of the total homes on site now set to be at social rent – around 50% of market rent.

While government restrictions limit City Hall’s ability to fund social rented homes under the current Affordable Homes Programme (AHP), Khan has sought greater flexibility to fund more social rented homes in London in the next AHP starting next year.

The precise level of funding City Hall can provide to bump the number of affordable homes on site up to 70% social rent will depend on the site’s final design and its receiving planning approval.

Khan’s move has been welcomed by Peabody and Islington Council, who say it will help them to build more genuinely affordable homes as part of the development.

Tom Copley, deputy mayor of London for housing, said: “Londoners desperately need more high quality homes available at social rent levels so I’m pleased that we’re able to work with our partners at Peabody and Islington to maximise the number of social rent homes on this development.

“This is a vote of confidence in this vital project that will deliver housing the people of Islington can be proud of.”

Peabody received a £42 million loan from City Hall in March 2019 to buy Holloway Prison from the Ministry of Justice, supported by AHP grant funding.

The 66,000-home housing association expects to deliver nearly 1,000 new homes on the site of the former women’s prison, with 42% of the homes set to be made available for social rent.

The 10-acre site will also deliver green spaces, places to play, local shops, and a ‘women’s building’ recognising the site’s significance and historical connection to women.

Subject to planning approval, Peabody expects to start the first homes on site in 2022 and complete the redevelopment by 2025.

Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, commented: “The Holloway Prison site is one of enormous significance for Islington and it’s vital we use this a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver as many genuinely affordable homes on this large site as possible.

“We applaud the mayor’s commitment to tackling London’s housing crisis and welcome the additional funding.”

Dick Mortimer, executive director for development at Peabody, said: “Peabody bought the Holloway Prison site with a clear commitment to provide as many affordable homes as possible.

“This reflects our social purpose and we’re delighted to be able to propose a development that will deliver nearly 1,000 new homes and 42 per cent social rent with the ongoing support of the mayor.

“The planning application is still to be submitted but we believe our scheme will result in a high-quality development that everyone can support.”

Khan’s support for more social rented homes in London comes in the context of record-breaking housing delivery, as more genuinely affordable homes were started in London last year than at any time since records began in 2002/03.

17,256 affordable homes were started in London in 2019/20, exceeding City Hall’s 17,000-home target.

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