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Designs for controversial Caledonian Park visitor centre revealed

PUBLISHED: 19:02 09 July 2015 | UPDATED: 19:02 09 July 2015

View of the vistor's centre from the north of the park

View of the vistor's centre from the north of the park

Archant

These are the latest plans for the refurbishment of Caledonian Clocktower and the building of a controversial visitors centre.

View of the visitor's centre from north west of the parkView of the visitor's centre from north west of the park

Islington Council wants to build the new visitors centre – providing historical information, a cafe and toilets – at the foot of the clocktower as part of essential works to the historic Holloway building in Caledonian Park.

However, despite the council justifying the building using a questionnaire filled out by nearly 200 residents, a petition opposing the new building and its positioning at the north end of the park has attracted more than 750 signatures.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, the town hall’s executive member for environment and transport, said the new Heritage Lottery funded building would improve the park.

“Cally Clock Tower is a hidden gem of Islington’s past. We want to carry out badly needed refurbishment, improve access to the tower and provide better facilities, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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

“We now have detailed plans for the park, which will celebrate its great past and add to the enjoyment of people who use it.

“We invite local people to look at the proposals and give us their comments, views and feedback.”

But Bridget Stark, who has spearheaded the “Save Cally Park” group, said the centre would “ruin” the park.

Ms Stark, who lives in Clock View Crescent and presented the petition to the council last month, said: “They don’t want to seem to listen to the fact that this is very unpopular.

“It will ruin everyone’s views through the park, which was one of the main attractions when we moved into these homes a couple of years ago.

“We’ve spoken to people in the park and businesses around it and they all just say ‘why?’.

“You don’t see anything like this at Hampstead Heath or Regent’s Park.

“I just think it will ruin the park. It will ruin the ambience and it will ruin the view.”

Detailed plans and views of the project can be seen at www.islington.gov.uk/caledonianpark

There is also a drop-in session from 5pm-9pm on Tuesday July 21 at the Drovers Centre, North Road where local councillors and members of the project team will be on hand to discuss the proposals. The closing date for comments and views is 28 July.

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