London’s Victorian prison sites could make space for £1.5bn of new housing

11th November, 2015

The sites of London’s Victorian prisons would provide enough space for £1.5bn worth of new private housing according to Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, the London property services company.

The chancellor’s spending review, due on 25th November, will include plans to close Victorian prisons around the country and sell them for housing. The likely sites in London include Pentonville, Wormwood Scrubs, Wandsworth and Brixton prisons. Overall, these sites cover a total area of approximately 40 acres[i], enough space to build over 4,000 new homes with an overall private value (Gross Development Value or GDV) of over £1.5bn billion pounds[ii].

Wormwood Scrubs is the largest site in London at nearly 16 acres, and offers the space for over 1,500 new properties including nearly 500 affordable homes (based on 30% being allocated affordable). At an average of 740sqft[iii] per property and with the average price per square foot in the area currently standing at £700, Wormwood Scrubs could yield over half a billion pounds of private property alone (£576.5m).

Wandsworth prison would provide space for 960 homes (288 affordable) with an overall private value of over £385m. Pentonville, while smaller than Wandsworth, could yield £393.6m of private property due to higher average prices per square foot in the area. Full breakdown of London’s five main Victorian prisons available in Table 1 below.

John East, Director of Land and New Homes at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, said: “When these sites were built they were very much on the outer fringes of London’s suburbs. Today, they sit among some of the most desirable and expensive areas in the Capital. Given their age, and the increasing demand for homes in London, it makes sense for them to be released for development. Not only will they provide a shot in the arm for the private property market but they’ll also deliver a number of much needed affordable homes.” 

[i] Areas calculated using dimensions of the main walled prison sites

[ii] Total GDV of £1,558,403,000 does not include allocated affordable homes

[iii] Average square footage based on a blended average of recent new development one, two and three bedroom properties across London