Controversial plans to build on residents’ parking spaces in Finsbury estate face hurdle

Hundreds of residents battling plans to build homes on the car park of their crowded estate have been handed a lifeline after the proposal was “called in” by opposition councillors.

Aggrieved residents on the King Square Estate in Finsbury stand to lose 60 parking spaces to make way for 140 flats after a planing brief was passed by Islington Council’s Labour leaders last week.

But that decision will now have to be reviewed after the Liberal Democrats called it in on Monday in a bid to halt the plans.

Lib Dem leader Cllr Terry Stacy said: “The council has made an almighty dog’s breakfast of the whole consultation and they have misled residents about the planning brief.”

Residents are also angry that the blocks are likely to be six storeys tall and fear the scheme will create “rat runs” where drivers will routinely cut through the estate.

The plan is part of a broader redevelopment of the adjacent Moreland Primary School and residents have already scored a victory by convincing the council to drop plans to rip up a �150,000 football pitch.

But speaking at last week’s meeting, Liz Smithson, secretary of the tenants’ and residents’ group, said: “None of us are against the new school, but we’re against this brief. It’s 10 times worse than the last one. We want a new school but we also want something tenants can live with.”

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Cllr James Murray, executive member for housing, told residents: “People will feel passionate about a scheme likes this, understandably. It will change the local area, which is why we want to make sure the door’s always open for discussion. I can guarantee this is not the final plan.”