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Campaigners rally to save mature tree felling in Islington housing development scheme

PUBLISHED: 11:28 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:28 03 July 2020

Mature trees are due to be felled as part of the Dixon Clark Court development. Picture: Julian Scott

Mature trees are due to be felled as part of the Dixon Clark Court development. Picture: Julian Scott

Archant

Campaigners are continuing in their fight to save a “little forest” in Islington from the axe, two years after the plans were given the given light.

Mature trees are due to be felled as part of the Dixon Clark Court development. Picture: Julian ScottMature trees are due to be felled as part of the Dixon Clark Court development. Picture: Julian Scott

Planning permission for Islington Council’s Dixon Clark Court development on Canonbury Road, detailing 41 homes in five blocks, was approved in 2018.

However, seven mature trees on Highbury Corner will be felled and replaced with a six-storey private-rented block as part of the plans.

A group of residents hope the decision can still be reversed and a “stop tree slaughter” petition reached 225 signatures in December 2019.

READ MORE: Petition urges council to stop Highbury Corner felling in light of climate emergency

READ MORE: Protest over planned felling of trees in Highbury to build private and council homes

Local activist Meg Howarth described it as a “beautiful little forest”: “What we are hoping to do is change the council’s mind about the forest - if it needs this private-rented block to keep the charges down for council tenants, could it shift the block around to the south west a few hundred metres? They will get their block but the trees will be saved.”

Mature trees are due to be felled as part of the Dixon Clark Court development. Picture: Julian ScottMature trees are due to be felled as part of the Dixon Clark Court development. Picture: Julian Scott

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She said the development would not bring 27 new affordable homes, as two existing socially-rented properties will be lost, making a net total of 25 properties.

Writing to this newspaper, Julian Scott said: “During the lockdown I think that a huge number of people around the country have become more aware of nature and its value, not only to us as humans but in its own right.

“Now that things are gradually easing back to ‘normal’, let us hope that it will no longer be considered normal to cut down mature trees that have taken 50 years to grow.”

Mature trees are due to be felled as part of the Dixon Clark Court development. Picture: Julian ScottMature trees are due to be felled as part of the Dixon Clark Court development. Picture: Julian Scott

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington’s executive member for housing and development, said the council’s top priority is delivering “decent, secure and genuinely affordable homes”.

“As part of the council’s commitment to clean up the air we breathe, the Dixon Clark Court scheme has a number of landscape improvements to help reduce toxic air pollution, including a 1.5m high and 1.5m deep hedge running along the western edge of the site, which will provide a barrier and screening from air pollution arising from road traffic.

“The trees which are to be retained at the site, combined with additional planting and ventilation measures within the buildings, will all help to vastly improve the air quality in the area.”


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