Construction is well underway on hundreds of new homes and community facilities at Holloway Park, on the site of the former Holloway Prison in Islington.
Peabody and its partners, including the Greater London Authority, the London Borough of Islington and London Square, gathered at the historic site on Wednesday 22nd November to see how the redevelopment has progressed since work first started in October last year.
Holloway Park, which is set to welcome new residents from 2027, is being built in three phases and will deliver 985 homes in total. Of those, 415 will be for social rent and 178 for shared ownership — making 60% of the homes affordable.
Most of the social homes will have two or three bedrooms, making them suitable for families, and there will also be 60 extra care one-bedroom homes and a sensory garden.
The development will use air source heat pumps to heat the homes, and photovoltaic solar panels will provide some of the electricity.
The 10-acre scheme will be home to a new 1.4-acre park, which will see the site and its mature greenery accessible to the public for the first time. Connected by a network of pedestrian paths, the development will also have parking facilities for up to 2,000 bicycles, commercial spaces, and a Women’s Building that will house support services tailored to the needs of women from the local community.
Peabody has been working closely with Islington Council, former residents of the prison, and a range of groups to discuss the scope for the Women’s Building. A joint steering group, made up of Peabody, Islington Council and independent experts, has been set up to secure its long-term success. Work to select an operator will begin early next year.
Not-for-profit housing association Peabody, which has 107,000 homes across London and the home counties, bought the Holloway Prison site in 2019 and was given planning permission for the homes and facilities by Islington Council last year.
Except for the former visitor centre, which is currently being used as a site office, all the former prison buildings have been taken down and foundations have been laid for the first homes. To honour the rich legacy of the site, Peabody has commissioned a heritage plan that will seek to respectfully incorporate some of the old prison materials, including banisters and mirrors, in new artworks.
429 homes are being built in the first phase, including 215 social rent homes, as well as the Women’s Building and three-quarters of the new park.
The construction of Holloway Park will provide 51 apprenticeships for local people, with aspirations for at least 30% to be women. An on-site ‘green skills’ hub will also deliver construction training programmes.
Angela Wood, Deputy Executive Director of Development for Peabody, said: “We have a long history of providing affordable homes and community services in Islington, working alongside Islington Council and other partners.
“Our plans for Holloway Park will provide nearly 1,000 much-needed homes, a significant percentage affordable, in a prime location with a range of new facilities.
“While our plans are undoubtedly different to what’s been on the site before, we’re committed to honouring its history — not least in our preservation of the wonderful green spaces and trees that were such a striking feature of prison’s design. And we will continue to work with the community to ensure the Women’s Building delivers a fitting legacy.”
Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Finance, Planning and Performance, commented: “We want to ensure that everyone has a safe, decent, and genuinely affordable place to call home, as we work towards making Islington a more equal borough.
“Our residents are living through a housing crisis, and after the prison closed we made it clear future plans for the site should include a minimum of 50% much-needed genuinely affordable housing, as well as high-quality, publicly accessible green space, and a women’s centre.
“Our planning guidance to make sure the site would meet local need was the first of its kind and received substantial community support. I was pleased to be able to work with the Mayor of London and Peabody to deliver 60% genuinely affordable homes.
“We’re delighted that Peabody has taken up this once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform this historic site into hundreds of new homes for our residents, including 415 homes for social rent.”
The Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, Tom Copley, said: “I’m extremely pleased that work is underway to deliver 985 new homes in Islington, with 60% of these set to be genuinely affordable.
“This partnership between City Hall, Peabody, the London Borough of Islington and London Square marks another important step forward in our central mission to deliver more high-quality, affordable new homes across the capital.
“Furthermore, the new community facilities, training and job opportunities, and green spaces will have huge benefits for the local community — helping to build a better, fairer, more prosperous London for all.”
Jo McDonagh, Managing Director of London Square North, added: “We are proud to be the delivery partner of Peabody on Holloway Park and to have a London Square project team of mainly women, led by a female Project Director, Joanne Flaherty.
“We are working with the London Borough of Islington to recruit apprentices for our construction programme, with an aim of 30% women. The quality of applicants has been outstanding, from female electricians to civil engineers, looking for a move into construction. We want to encourage them to progress and build a career in the industry — an amazing legacy for Peabody and London Square to be creating here at Holloway Park.
“This is an important site for both Islington and London, delivering 60% affordable homes and giving the community a new park in an area that has been behind walls for many years.”