Council asks community to help improve Finsbury Park – from security to cycle routes

Finsbury Park.Picture:Ken Mears

Finsbury Park.Picture:Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Council chiefs are asking for the public’s help on how to improve Finsbury Park – and want to know whether or not to lock it at night.

Iuliana Tudos.

Iuliana Tudos. - Credit: Archant

A consultation has been launched in response to a police audit carried out more than a year ago following the chilling murder of 22-year-old Iuliana Tudos on Christmas Eve 2017.

The barmaid was walking through the park to her home in Upper Tollington Park after work when she was brutally attacked by Kasim Lewis, who was jailed for life last year.

The police audit came after her friends demanded increased security in the park. Some wanted it locked at night while a petition calling for improved lighting, CCTV and wardens was signed by more than 6,000 people.

Haringey says it has already implemented some of the 15 recommendations made by the Met, including employing two rangers, but wants to hear from the community on others that would have a "direct impact on how people use the park". It says the consultation is also being run as part of the park's 150th birthday celebrations.

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A report states: "Initial feedback from stakeholders suggested that an approach that focused on making the park safer through increased activities would be preferable to other high security measures."

The council has consistently dug its heels in when it comes to locking the park, and the consultation document makes clear that is still not its desired approach.

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"The police have recommended the park should be closed and fully secured at a fixed designated time each day," it states. "However, the council and TfL are exploring new Cycleways which could run through the park. Keeping the park open 24 hours may be a condition of the new Cycleways. In this instance improved lighting would be introduced."

It goes on to say the park could not be closed before 11.30pm because it is used by members of the athletics club and that most incidents reported in the park take place between 7am and 10pm.

TfL and Haringey are discussing plans for the two Cycleways. The first is part of a route connecting Bowes Park and Farringdon and would pass from the Endymion Road entrance to the main entrance in Seven Sisters Road.

The other would form part of the new Tottenham Hale to Camden Town route, and pass along Seven Sisters Road connecting the two entrances. Both would require the park to stay open 24 hours a day.

Haringey's sustainability chief Cllr Kirsten Hearn said: "Finsbury Park was created as a people's park, and on its 150th birthday there is no better time to get people's views on what we can do to improve it for users and local residents."

Other options include moving the benches near the "Finsbury gate" entrance and the American gardens play area as well as installing CCTV, as requested by police. Due to the trees in the park it cannot be completely monitored, so the options for cameras are at the three most popular entrances at Manor House, Seven Sisters Road, Stroud Green Road and Oxford Road.

On police's calls for improved lighting between Endymion Road and Manor House, the report states normal street lighting couldn't be installed because it's a bat flight path. Other routes could be considered, though, paving the way for TfL's Cycleway proposals.

The council has been accused of making neighbours deal with negative impacts of huge summer festivals and not reinvesting the money properly over the years.

The consultation draws up a list of priority areas for spending. It includes cleanliness, toilets, maintenance, diversity of wildlife, lighting, dog control, lake improvements, art activities, community events and sports facilities.

Check out the consultation here.

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