Ministry of Justice fails to win Pentonville flats appeal

Bid to redevelop former prison wardens’ homes is rejected

Friday, 29th October 2021 — By Helen Chapman

Pentonville homes

Campaigners outside the Pentonville flats during a protest over the summer

THE planning inspectorate has this week dismissed an appeal lodged by the Ministry of Justice to develop former Pentonville Prison wardens’ homes.

Islington officers rejected several applications made by developer LGP Wellington Mews Ltd for a “certificate of lawfulness” which would allow the MoJ to redevelop the Wellington Mews blocks without a full planning application.

Without the certificate, the council’s planning policy kicks in – meaning 50 per cent of homes in a development of more than 10 units should be affordable. Campaigners say the 29 three and four-bedroom flats should be put back into council use.

Cabinet member for hous­ing Councillor Diarmaid Ward said: “It is absolutely brilliant news. This has been going on for quite a few years. Those flats have been left empty and we have always been keen to get them back into use.”

The council had negotiated with the MoJ to lease the blocks in 2019 and use them to house people on the council’s 14,000-long waiting list but the deal fell through. It is now expected the MoJ will appeal the decision.

Morag Gillie from Islington Homes for All said: “For us, it is a huge step forward. The MoJ should go back to its 2019 agreement to lease 100 per cent of the units to the council. It is in the best interest of Islington. I find it galling they still have their hands on it, they should have gone straight to the council.”

The Ministry of Justice said they would not comment.

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