March 11 2014 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The battle is on to save one of Islington’s precious parks from bulldozers.
Local people are concerned that two building projects would slash in half, for two years, the public space in Whittington Park, off Holloway Road.
They are worried that Transport for London (TfL) would fence off a third of the Upper Holloway park while it undertakes work on Holloway Bridge – a tunnel which Overground trains use to travel from Upper Holloway to Crouch Hill – although TfL say this is only one of the options.
Meanwhile, a multi-million pound plan to transform The Good Intent pub, in nearby Wedmore Street, into luxury flats, would see much of the park fenced off.
It is up in the Royal Courts of Justice this week as Islington Council attempt to overturn a planning inspector’s decision to give the scheme the go ahead.
Elizabeth Case, chairman of the friends of Whittington Park, said: “This is a large section of the park we are talking about.
“A third of the park, or a half if the Good Intent appeal fails, will be blocked by building work
“A lot of green space and trees will go and people will simply not be able to use the park because it will be physically fenced off. On top of that, the building work will be very close to a child minders’ centre.
“With two-year-olds running around, it could be dangerous.”
Cllr Tracy Ismail, the Lib Dem representative for St George’s ward, which borders that park, said: “I am concerned the council hasn’t told anyone about this.
“How long have negotiations been going on?
“What other options have been considered? If both plans went ahead it would be an absolute disaster. Surely the council have the final say – they need to rule it out.”
A TfL spokesman said: “We have not made a final decision on where we will locate site offices as part of the essential work to replace the Upper Holloway rail bridge later this year.
“We continue to work with the local council to identify a suitable location, but currently have no intention to use Whittington Park.”
Cllr Rakhia Ismail, Islington Council’s executive member for sustainability said: “We recognise the urgency of these bridge works but the borough has very little greenspace and Whittington Park is not the right place for a depot.
“We are opposed to the park being used for this and instead will be working with TfL to identify an alternative site with less impact on our residents and greenspace.”