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Builder’s say they are not encroaching but group fear hoardings could be there for years

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Canal users are demanding action after works started on a massive new tower block – and much of a waterside walkway suddenly disappeared.

Members of the Friends of Regent’s Canal were aghast to discover more than half of a canalside path at City Road Basin, City Road, Finsbury, has been eaten up by developer Mount Anvil’s hoardings.

The firm has begun work on a huge 36-storey tower block – and canal users fear a loss of public amenity for the duration of the build, which could be years.

Ian Shacklock, chairman of the Friends, said: “This has come out of the blue. We were promised this walkway around the basin as payback for this huge tower block in the first place, but now we’re seeing it disappearing from under our noses.

“They really have gobbled up half the walkway and it’s so narrow, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s out of bounds. We have been trying to improve this area for years, but people are not going to go there anymore.”

The boards sprang up days after the Angel Canal Festival celebrated the basin’s public space earlier this month. The basin was saved from being filled in by campaigners in the 1970s.

The friends do not believe Mount Anvil has permission to encroach so far onto the walkway and on Monday Finsbury resident Leo Chapman, who has been at the forefront of efforts to improve the area, wrote to Islington Council demanding an investigation. He wrote that Mount Anvil has taken “an over-generous slice” of the walkway, making it uncomfortable to walk on and dangerous to cyclists, and added: “I cannot see how the details of this path in its present state can be approved by the council.”

A council spokesman said: “We are investigating local concerns over this issue, and will see if any planning controls have been breached.”

Kevin Payne, project director at Mount Anvil, said the hoarding was “carefully located” to keep the public safe and far away from the workforce. He added that it was aligned with Mount Anvil’s legal boundary.

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