Tree-gate: Two arrested during Dixon Clark Court eviction
- Credit: Andre Langlois
People have been evicted from a group of trees in Dixon Clark Court ahead of their controversial felling, the date for which remains under wraps.
Last month, Judge David Rees ruled at the High Court that anybody occupying seven 50-year-old trees next to Highbury Corner must vacate the site to make way for a housing development.
It was the culmination of a long-running saga dating back to 2018, when planning permission was approved for the site, and which has seen two separate groups move in, a "tunnel" built and Islington Council build up over £250,000 in officers' costs and legal bills.
The council says the private block will help solve the housing crisis by providing a net gain of 25 flats for social rent at the estate off Canonbury Road, but campaigners have urged the authority to reconsider in light of the climate emergency, and build the block on a different brownfield site.
On February 9, after High Court enforcement, police and Islington Council officers went to "take possession" of the site, two people were arrested.
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Maria Gallastegui, 62, of Bouverie Road in Hackney was charged with obstructing a High Court enforcement officer and participating in a gathering of two or more people in an outdoor place in a Tier 4 area.
She is due to appear at Highbury Magistrates’ Court on Monday, February 24.
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Giovanni Assenza, 24, of no fixed abode was bailed pre-charge for obstructing a high court enforcement officer and for possession of a pointed/bladed article in a public place.
An Islington Council spokesperson would not comment on when the felling will take place now the space is clear.
Commenting last week, they said: "Following the High Court decision to award Islington Council possession of the Dixon Clark Court site, High Court enforcement officers attended to take possession on Tuesday (February 9) and provided the protestors time to gather their possessions throughout the day as they left the site.
"The council’s contractors are now clearing the remaining temporary structures and due to health and safety concerns, it is not appropriate for personal items to be collected directly from the site by protesters."
The spokesperson advised anyone who was unable to collect their personal belongings to contact the council with a list of missing items.