Caledonian Park group accuses Islington councillors of ‘blatant’ political stunts

The Save Cally Park group in front of the watch tower on Tuesday. Picture: Andrew Pegram

The Save Cally Park group in front of the watch tower on Tuesday. Picture: Andrew Pegram - Credit: Archant

A residents’ group has accused Islington Council of stifling negative results to its park consultation.

In July, the council ran public surveys proposing to restore the historic grade II-listed clock tower in Caledonian Park, as well as building a new visitor centre.

But designs were unpopular. Leaked documents have revealed that 227 out of 367 responses (62 per cent) opposed the scheme.

Mike Power, of the Save Cally Park group, said: “They have deliberately kept local people in the dark for five months.”

He hit out at a petition, led by Holloway ward Cllr Paul Smith, in support of the proposals. This gathered 206 signatures, and the document said it was set up due to “concerns at the negative impact” of the Save Cally Park campaign.

Mr Power said: “This was a blatant political stunt by our councillors. The councillors collected over 200 signatures, certainly from Labour Party members and supporters.

“It was done secretly with no publicity. There has been no public information about this so-called councillor-led petition, or about it being submitted to the council. We haven’t seen the petition and haven’t been able to comment on it.

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“The councillors and council officers colluded in this sordid act because they were concerned at the successful impact of Save Cally Park’s public campaign.”

But Cllr Claudia Webbe, executive member for environment and transport, said: “No one’s response, in whatever form, has been or will be ignored. All responses will be given full and proper consideration.

“This process is very much dialogue with the local community – some of whom support our ideas, some of whom do not.

“We have undertaken three rounds of consultation with residents, listening to what we hear and changing our proposed designs according to the feedback we received.”

Cllr Webbe also defended Cllr Smith’s petition, saying: “We did receive a public petition, submitted by Cllr Smith, and will consider this in just the same way that we would any other response. The results of the consultation, and the council’s response to it, will be published shortly.”