On Friday, 5 January, Andy Bain of Community Plan for Holloway was interviewed on the early evening BBC London News, calling for genuinely affordable housing to be built on the Holloway prison site to meet the needs of young people in Islington. The interview was part of a report about the adoption of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the site by Islington Council's Planning and Development Committee on 4 January.
Community Plan for Holloway, which is organised by the Centre, is working in coalition with local people and community groups to create and promote a positive vision for the former prison site.
Maureen Mansfield, of the grassroots campaign Reclaim Holloway, also appeared and argued that the development should include a women's building that is accessible to some of the most vulnerable women in the Borough, irrespective of whether or not they had been involved in criminal justice. A version of the report was also carried on the BBC website.
The Planning and Development Committee document that adopted the final guidelines noted:
The consultation on the draft SPD was one of the most engaged with consultations ever in Islington for this type of planning document, demonstrating the importance of the site in terms of its size and context.
It also noted that in the 400 responses to the draft planning guidelines:
- 76 per cent of respondents were residents.
- 15 per cent of respondents were community/voluntary groups.
- 85 per cent of respondents agreed with the draft SPD objective on housing and affordable housing; 69 per cent strongly agreed and 16 per cent agreed.
- 84 per cent agreed with the draft SPD non-residential uses objectives, including the inclusion of a women’s centre; 40 per cent strongly agreed and 43 per cent agreed.
- 86 per cent with the draft SPD open and play space objectives; 56 per cent strongly agreed and 30 per cent agreed.
Will McMahon, our Deputy Director, who leads on the Community Plan for Holloway project for us, said:
We welcome the response from the local community to the Council's planning framework. A strong local movement is developing that wants to see the former prison land developed to meet the many social needs in Islington.
Genuinely affordable housing, more green space and a women's building should be central to any plan. Any successful bidder should note the bottom line set by the Council and the wider demands of the local community who have a vision that goes well beyond the minimum requirement of 50 per cent social housing.