Disabled Finsbury residents win David and Goliath planning battle

Residents, of 10 Epworth Street, who have saved their outdoor roof garden from the shade

Residents, of 10 Epworth Street, who have saved their outdoor roof garden from the shade - Credit: Archant

Disabled and elderly Finsbury residents were celebrating last night after winning a “David and Goliath” battle against developers.

Cllr Claudia Webbe

Cllr Claudia Webbe - Credit: Archant

Developers Lawnpond Ltd wanted to raise the height of derelict Zimco House in Bonhill Street, Finsbury, by almost seven meters to create homes and business space, which would have left their only outdoor space without sunlight.

But Islington Council’s planning committee threw out the plan last night, after Lawnpond failed at the second time of asking to show that they had considered the 19 residents living in the block at 10 Epworth Street in their plans.

Anthony O’Loughlin, 71, who has lived in the building for 36 years and started the now thriving garden, said: “It’s very good news and my god, the architects were run ragged by the committee – I did a yippee when we got outside.

“They said they were going to appeal so it might not be over yet, but we will be with the council all the way if it goes to appeal.

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Mr O’Loughlin was one of three residents who spoke before the committee but wasn’t going to bother until ward representative Cllr Claudia Webbe convinced him it would be much better from his mouth than hers.

Many of the residents living at 10 Epworth Street are severely disabled and the plans would not only have blighted their terrace but would have also seen constant deliveries through a car park which allows them to go to and from hospital with easy access to the building.

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Cllr Webbe said: “The residents believed that they were dealing with a David and Goliath situation where they felt that the power of the developers financially was going to outweigh their own needs.

“But in the end the planning committee saw the merits of their arguments as presented by the residents that they were in fact not gaining and stood only to suffer in terms of quality of life.

“It’s a real triumph for the residents but they understand that it’s not over yet.”

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