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Prostitute and drug dealer fears over Caledonian Park

PUBLISHED: 12:55 11 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:33 11 May 2016

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

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

Archant

Drug dealers and prostitutes have been given a “wonderful opportunity” to do business in Caledonian Park, according to an angry residents’ group.

It comes after an Islington Council planning committee approved the authority’s own application to build a visitor centre and toilets next to the historic clock tower.

Mike Power, vice-chairman of the Clocktower Residents’ Group, told the Gazette after last night’s meeting in the town hall: “These buildings, and the public toilets, will provide cover for antisocial behaviour.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for drug dealers, drug users and prostitutes. This all goes on in the park at the moment. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but now it could get worse.”

But Cllr Martin Klute, chairman of the committee, responded today: “There were 15 objectors at the meeting concerned about the site of the building, and potential for antisocial behaviour.

“As a committee, we can only consider the application in front of us and were satisfied all of the issues were dealt with. We believe 24-hour CCTV deals with the issue.”

The Clocktower group has been in a long-running dispute with the council over its plans, which will also see the Grade-II listed tower and its railings restored.

The application was approved unanimously, and Mr Power, who lives in Clock View Crescent next to the tower, called Islington a “one-party state”: 47 of 48 councillors are Labour.

“There’s no opposition in Islington,” he said. “It’s a one-party state. The local people are utterly humiliated at these kinds of meetings. They have real power and frankly don’t care what local people think.

“The decision was made against a backdrop of ignorance and pressure among councillors, in particular Holloway Cllr Paul Smith [who ran a petition in support of the plans], to push this through.”

“Our supporters are absolutely furious but we won’t take this decision lying down.”

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