Disabled Finsbury residents anger over car park misuse

Residents (L to R): Martin Chapman, June Bell, Tony O'Loughlin, Anne Pauley, Michael Thumwood, Ahme

Residents (L to R): Martin Chapman, June Bell, Tony O'Loughlin, Anne Pauley, Michael Thumwood, Ahmed Hassan and Irene Hall in their car park in Epworth Street. - Credit: Vickie Flores/Archant

Severely disabled residents say they are being put at risk by lorries continually using their private car park as a cut-through.

“Vulnerable” tenants living in Epworth Street thought their car park was safe when they won a David and Goliath battle against developer Lawnpond Ltd, which wanted to use it as a delivery entrance.

An Islington Council planning committee ruled in the tenants’ favour. But now, having launched an appeal with the secretary of state against the council’s decision, Lawnpond has removed a chain from the entrance of the car park and is using it as a delivery entrance for large vehicles, making it a potentially “dangerous” place for the disabled and elderly residents in Epworth Street.

Anthony O’Loughlin, 71, who has lived in the building for 36 years, said: “The car park has always two entrances, one on their side and one for us on ours.

“The chain has always been there, the housing association put it up because they said they had the lease on it.

“Now they [Lawnpond] have all their drivers driving straight through whenever they want, it’s dangerous for people in wheelchairs. They want to close off their side and make it a private entrance for their multimillion pound flats.”

Lawnpond want to build flats at the derelict Zimco House in Bonhill Street, giving new residents a private entrance and using the disabled residents’ car park as a delivery entrance.

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Although their appeal is not yet resolved, Mr O’Loughlin said the construction company have been on site “waiting for the green light”.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, who represents Bunhill Ward, said: “I think these people [Lawnpond] are behaving really badly. The car park allows vulnerable residents to enter and exit their vehicles with dignity. Now they have to contend with these construction vehicles.”

A spokesman for Lawnpond said: “Lawnpond continues to operate the site in a safe and lawful manner while we await a decision on the current proposal from the Planning Inspectorate.

“If residents have concerns about current servicing arrangements on the site, please contact Lawnpond direct and we would happy to address any specific concerns.”