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Richard Watts on Highbury Fields barbecue row: ‘Legal action against Islington Council means I can’t talk about it’

PUBLISHED: 11:30 22 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:19 22 September 2017

Save Highbury Fields campaigners protest outside Islington Town Hall before last night's full council meeting. Picture: Pollyy Hancock

Save Highbury Fields campaigners protest outside Islington Town Hall before last night's full council meeting. Picture: Pollyy Hancock

Archant

The leader of Islington Council refused to be drawn into the Highbury Fields barbecue row last night – because of the legal action which has been taken against the town hall.

At the full council meeting, Alastair Hazell handed in a 1,200-strong petition calling for barbecues to be banned, saying: “This is an outrage. The fields are being destroyed. The barbecues are for the pleasure of a few people and not the benefit of the majority of Islington residents.”

But when questioned about pollution by Joanna Greatwich, a Highbury Fields council tenant of 19 years, Islington leader Cllr Richard Watts said: “It’s always regrettable when people threaten legal action as it curtails debate. It’s all I can say – sorry.”

As reported in the Gazette last week, Save Highbury Fields is taking the council to Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court over its policy allowing barbecues on the fields.

They claim the barbecues poison Islington’s air and causes health problems for people living on the Fields. But the council says barbecues should be allowed because many people in the borough don’t have a back garden.

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2 comments

  • ps we have been informed that the Leader will not meet (as we were told he would) to discuss the SAVE HIGHBURY FIELDS petition because of pending legal action. Great leadership-to hide behind lawyers twice in 12 hours!

    Report this comment

    MichaelK

    Friday, September 22, 2017

  • I would like to know what legal advice Cllr Watts has taken to prevent him when threatened with legal action to refuse to answer a question. It would hardly make a difference as the way the public are treated at Council Meetings (particularly the Sotheby Mews protesters yesterday)is shockingly undemocratic (Councillors can blather on endlessly and applaud themselves loudly but the public are limited to one followup question and at any protest the Mayor threatens to go into closed session!)

    Report this comment

    MichaelK

    Friday, September 22, 2017

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