Attack on Tri-borough Finsbury Park plan - including plans for early Beatles gig venue

An artists impression of how the Finsbury Park town centre might look

An artists impression of how the Finsbury Park town centre might look - Credit: Archant

A row has erupted over plans to redevelop Finsbury Park - – including development to a venue where the Beatles played on of their first London shows.

Islington, Hackney and Haringey councils – the three boroughs that control the area – produced a consultation document on the future of the streets around the station.

Part of the plan is to create a vista from the station to the park, a new shopping district and improvements to the area under the railway bridge, as well as City North – two 21-storey towers with more than 300 flats.

There is also a proposal to increase the height of Rowans Bowling Alley. But people who live nearby say the scheme is flawed and claim it will have a negative impact.

Clive Carter, from Stroud Green, said: “Because Finsbury Park is on the corner of three boroughs it falls through the cracks, so they created this tri-borough accord but it isn’t working.

“Councils don’t care as much what happens on their borders because some of the money spent goes to benefit other boroughs.

“But this proposal is really bad. Islington is taking the lead, but it is foisting sub-optimal plans on us.

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“It’s a sensitive and vital area and a massive transport hub – they need to look at plans in the context of that. And I suspect if City North was proposed now, it wouldn’t get through.”

Kevin Duffy, who also lives in Stroud Green, said: “We all recognise Finsbury Park needs some investment and development so that’s good. But the main thrust of this seems to be increasing the height of the Rowans building, which will have a detrimental impact on the area, especially the park which it would overshadow.

“If the building has to go, surely a bold idea would be to get a compulsory purchase order and it be knocked down to form a public open space with a wide entrance to the park.”

Cllr Andy Hull, chairman of Finsbury Park Regeneration Board, said because most of the land is privately owned there is only so much the authorities can do. He said: “I am not trying to belittle people’s concerns, but we don’t own this land – its very fractured with different people owing different bits.

“What we are trying to do is if someone wants to develop a bit of land, as I believe is the case with Rowans, we will try and get them to conform to our plan for the area. What we have said is we want a vista between the station and the park. When you come here at the moment you wouldn’t know there is a park.

“It’s quite built-up and unwelcoming. Also, this is a draft document – we have only just finished the consultation.”