The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has urged the government to ensure that valuable land at the Holloway Prison site is used to build genuinely affordable housing as quickly as possible. Sadiq has called for affordable homes to be the priority, rather than the former prison being sold to an investor who could ‘land bank’ the site.
Holloway Prison, a 10-acre site in Islington capable of delivering about 1,000 new homes, is being marketed for sale by the Ministry of Justice, with a 15 November deadline for expressions of interest
Sadiq is concerned about the government’s disposal process – with the site being offered to purchasers with no restrictions or constraints.
This increases the risk that it could end up being ‘land banked’ – a process which see sites lying idle and unused for years.
With London suffering a housing crisis, Sadiq is committed to ensuring all public land in the capital makes a significant contribution to affordable housing and is released quickly to build new homes.
He clearly set out his approach to the release of public land in the capital through his planning guidance that says those sites should include 50 per cent affordable housing to benefit from his new ‘fast track’ route to gaining planning permission. The Mayor has been working closely with Islington Council on its new planning document for the site, which sets out that the site can viably include 50 per cent affordable housing.
Sadiq has now written to the Justice Secretary, David Lidington, offering City Hall housing and land experts to work with the Ministry of Justice to secure the best deal on the site which can be reinvested in the government’s prison reform programme, whilst crucially also ensuring new homes are built at pace with a high level of genuinely affordable homes for Londoners.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“Holloway Prison is a major site capable of delivering a large number of new and affordable homes for Londoners. It’s absolutely crucial we do not run the risk of this prized asset being ‘land banked’ and left unused for decades.
“London desperately needs new and affordable homes right now. I am offering to work with the government – with help from my experienced Homes for Londoners team – to ensure this site not only achieves good value to be reinvested in the prison service, but also that it is built on quickly and delivers hundreds of new and genuinely affordable homes.”