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Network Rail slammed for 'dragging out' work under Stroud Green Bridge to detriment of pedestrians and rough sleepers

PUBLISHED: 15:25 03 September 2019

The fencing was installed in Stroud Green Road while lights are repaired. Picture: Sam Gelder

The fencing was installed in Stroud Green Road while lights are repaired. Picture: Sam Gelder

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An outreach worker has slammed Network Rail for "dragging out" maintenance work under Stroud Green Bridge for "months" at the expense of rough sleepers and pedestrians.

Islington Council erected fences on both pavements below the bridge on March 12 to carry out light works and "pigeon proofing".

It was due for completion by March 29 but didn't finish until last month. Now the barriers remain in place because the rail firm is carrying out eight weeks of painting and repair works, first under Seven Sisters Road bridge and then under Stroud Green bridge.

The company was due to start the project on July 7 but didn't start until August 11 in Seven Sisters Road.

Jon Glackin, co-ordinator of grassroots outreach group Streets Kitchen, said: "They still haven't started. I don't know what they're playing at because it's getting messy down there and people don't know what's happening.

"We were told work was going to be done but it's not and I think everyone is confused: the council, outreach, everyone.

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"There is pigeon poo and nasty stuff down there [behind the fencing] and it needs a clean.

"Network Rail needs to get its act together. To their credit Islington and Haringey have outreach down their and do street cleans, but it's just a mess. The onus is on Network Rail to get the job done and keep its promises."

He also fears the fencing could fall on someone and thinks people are sleeping in the unattended cranes.

Jon says rough sleepers are being pushed away from the area, making it harder for outreach teams to keep tabs on them. Over the past two years Islington has helped 38 people living under the bridge into temporary housing.

In February Islington Council announced it was seeking a high court injunction against rough sleeping, begging and antisocial behaviour under the bridge, owing to the vulnerability of people sleeping there and fears for safety and hygiene. The idea was scrapped after an outcry from groups including Streets Kitchen.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: "Work to paint the bridge will begin in mid-September.

"Network Rail will be painting two parapets of the bridge in Holly Green, in keeping with the other bridge elements.

"Network Rail continues to work with Islington Council and TfL to keep disruption to a minimum whilst this takes place."

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