Islington people gathered for a socially-distanced placard parade to demand their voices are heard over the former Holloway Prison site.
Community Plan for Holloway (CPH) and Islington Homes for All organised the event at the site on September 19, which saw about 50 local residents come together to create placards and talk about the plans for the site, which include 1,000 new homes, the potential for 12-storey buildings, a new public park, and a Women’s Building.
Community engagement organiser at CPH, Debbie Humphry, is urging everyone to have their voices heard before it is too late.
“Despite local consultation, people don’t know what is happening to the site, so we find being visible on the street, as we have done a couple of times and will continue to do, is good,” she said. “We are out there and people can come and talk to us, and they did.”
The parade was initially going to have a “carnival” vibe with music and family activities, Debbie said, but plans had to change due to the coronavirus lockdown.
She added: “It was a really lovely event, what was lovely was so many people have been involved in organising it, it was really collaborative. It felt like everyone coming together.”
Debbie said there are concerns that Peabody will “water down” its promise to provide 42 per cent of the site’s homes at council rent rates.
At the parade, Islington Council’s housing chief Diarmaid Ward said: “We need as many homes for social rent on the development site as possible. The maximum possible percentage of social rent homes.
“We’ve got 14,000 people on our housing register. They all need a home. Many are overcrowded families, homeless families in temporary accommodation.”
A representative from Peabody was also there to answer questions.
A spokesperson said: “We were pleased to attend last Saturday’s event, which was another good opportunity for us to listen to what the community are saying.
“We are proposing 60 per cent affordable housing and are striving to maximise the amount of social rent – at target rent levels. We’re committed to the Women’s Building alongside this and will be bringing forward the next round of formal consultation soon.”
All photos: Stefano Cagnoni