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Mosaic ‘first small step’ in transforming Finsbury Park

Mayor and Mayoress with councillors and Talal Karim with the mosaics Mayor and Mayoress with councillors and Talal Karim with the mosaics

Friday, December 6, 2013
3:07 PM

Artwork and pigeon-proofing part of £1.5m plan

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Other key improvements planned for Finsbury Park

n Turn the railway bridges into a blank canvas for public street art

n Beef up the bridges’ drainage and pigeon-proofing to prevent passers-by being showered

n Create 1,000 sq metres of blank canvas along the tunnel entrance to the Underground station from Seven Sisters Road

n Construct a “vista” to the park so the green space can be seen from the Underground station

A drab, smoky, pigeon-infested railway bridge was transformed into a public work of art as the first stage of a £1.5million regeneration-project got ­underway.

The new mosaic outside the entrance to Gillespie Park, in Seven Sisters Road, was ­unveiled on Monday as “small step” ­towards a bold new vision for Finsbury Park.

In July, plans were announced to clean up Finsbury Park – ­including waging war on the ­area’s many fast food, gambling and payday loan shops – as well as series of ideas to brighten up the place.

Talal Karim, director of the Finsbury Park Trust, said: “The unveiling went very well – ­although it was in place a week ago, this was the formal ceremony and it was very good.

“It has taken a long time to complete. We had quite a lot of ­obstacles to overcome and it should have been done a year ago, but it’s done now.

“It’s a small step as part of a bigger project. I am hoping lots of people make positive comments because then we should get more money to extend the scheme.

“We want to make Finsbury Park an arts hub. It doesn’t just have to be rich, posh areas that get arts benefits – poorer ones should too.”

The mosaics were designed with the help of pupils from nearby Ambler Primary School, in Blackstock Road, and Drayon Park Primary School, in Drayton Park.

Mr Karim said: “They have had a big effect so far – lots of people have stopped to look at it.

“I just wish we could extended it to run all the way underneath the bridge.”

Tri-borough

The tri-borough project to regenerate Finsbury Park is being spearheaded by Islington Council, which pledged £500,000 towards the scheme, and they hope neighbouring boroughs Haringey and Hackney will follow suit.

Cllr Richard Greening, the new chair of the Finsbury Park Regeneration Board, said: “It’s a big enhancement and will hopefully encourage people to come into Gillespie Park from that entrance.

“The Finsbury Park gate isn’t terribly enticing at the moment.

“Having a mosaic is a nice way to draw attention to what the park has to offer.”

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