March 8 2014 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Monday, February 3, 2014
A community is blaming the town hall as their local pub is set to be bulldozed and replaced with six luxury town houses.
Multimillion pound plans to demolish the Good Intent, Wedmore Street, Holloway, and erect upmarket homes were submitted to Islington Council by TGI Taverns in 2012.
Despite more than 130 objections, the council handed the decision to an individual officer who missed an eight-week deadline – leaving the developers free to take their case to the planning inspector.
The application was approved in May last year despite the town hall’s policy of protecting pubs.
The council appealed the decision but it was upheld by the High Court on Friday.
Elizabeth Case, secretary of the Friends of Whittington Park, said: “It’s a sad, sad day for the park and local residents.”
Mr Justice Cranston said that, despite the council’s policy protecting pubs, the inspector’s findings that the Good Intent was not of particular community or historical value and that the proposed town houses “would represent a respectful addition to the street scene” validated the decision.
But Mrs Case said that the building was “part of the industrial heritage of Islington”.
“It was built to serve the houses and factories that were in the area before they were pulled down. It should have been valued as such. Instead we have housing for more chattering class millionaires with no gain for the local community,” she said.
Cllr Tracy Ismail, Lib Dem member for St George’s ward, said: “The decision leaves me speechless. Do we really want luxurious, very expensive town houses instead of a community pub?
“The plans are disruptive to residents and disruptive to park users. Apart from the developers, nobody wins.
“Incompetent is the word that springs to mind. If they hadn’t missed the deadline then the developers wouldn’t have been able to go to the inspector, meaning that Islington residents never had their chance to have their say.”
Cllr James Murray, executive member for housing and development, said: “Local pubs are important to our communities and we have strong policies in place to protect them.
“We are disappointed by the judge’s decision, but will continue to strongly enforce our planning policies to protect local pubs. They have already saved other local pubs, such as the Whittington and Cat, from being lost.”