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Cally Park Clocktower Residents’ Group lodges formal complaint over Lottery cash grant

PUBLISHED: 09:30 04 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:17 06 December 2016

Caledonian Park clock tower protest after Islington Council granted planning permission for the centre last year. Picture: Mike Power

Caledonian Park clock tower protest after Islington Council granted planning permission for the centre last year. Picture: Mike Power

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Furious campaigners have lodged a formal complaint over the granting of £2million in Lottery cash to the Cally Park clock tower visitors’ centre.

An artist's impression of the visitor centre buildings next to the Caledonian Park clock tower. Picture: Islington CouncilAn artist's impression of the visitor centre buildings next to the Caledonian Park clock tower. Picture: Islington Council

The Clocktower Residents’ Group submitted documents to the Local Government Ombudsman following the Heritage Lottery Fund’s decision last night to bankroll the bulk of the controversial project.

Vice-chair Mike Power said the funding went directly against the views expressed by neighbours, who argue the centre’s design and location at the park’s north gate will be a magnet for crime and ruin their views.

Mr Power said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund has colluded with Islington Council to ignore our community and ride roughshod over our deep concerns and worries about this unwanted visitor centre.”

He added the HLF requires eligible projects to have local support.

The Save Cally Park group in front of the clock tower in Caledonian Park.The Save Cally Park group in front of the clock tower in Caledonian Park.

Two petitions totalling 1,500 signatures had called for the project in its current form to be scrapped.

“We now face a year of building construction just 15 metres from our doorsteps, followed by a future of increased noise and anti-social behaviour, and new traffic hazards and parking problems,” said Mr Power.

A fortnight ago Mr Power was one of two people who resigned from the visitors’ centre’s “toothless” steering committee.

He added that residents’ group members were also considering pushing for a judicial review and for the decision of the Heritage Lottery Fund to be put aside.

An artist's impression of how the clock tower and visitors' centre will look. Picture: Islington CouncilAn artist's impression of how the clock tower and visitors' centre will look. Picture: Islington Council

Mr Power said his group was not opposed to the idea of having a café and visitors’ centre – but said the current plans were not acceptable.

“We are not hostile to this project in itself,” he said. “We are hostile to the location.”

In a public statement on Thursday, town hall environment boss Cllr Claudia Webbe said the council was “committed to working closely with all residents to create a truly sustainable heritage centre”.

She added: “I look forward to working with local residents and the Heritage Lottery Fund to make the project the success I know it can be.”

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