Finsbury power station plans anger residents

PEOPLE of Finsbury are getting hot under the collar over a �4million power station that Islington Council wants to put on their doorstep.

Temperatures are rising as angry residents in Central Street, Mitchell Street and Helmet Row oppose council plans to build a heat and energy plant on a car park in Central Street – instead of using the 100 square metre site for desperately-needed green space.

They also say the industrial brick, corrugated iron and steel structure, with its 65 foot high chimney, will be an eyesore – while fears have also been raised over noise and pollution.

Darren Stamford, of Central Street, who is part of a group of residents fighting the development, said: “Nobody wants it. We are being boxed in and we desperately need extra leisure space.

“There has been lots of development in this area in the last five years and about 2,000 new residents have moved in, but no provision has been made for any recreational open space.

“We need somewhere for children to play and for people to exercise or walk their dogs. Islington is already the worst borough for green space in London and they doing nothing to address that.”

Islington Council’s own planning chiefs are expected to rubber-stamp the proposal on Thursday (March 7).

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Eight individuals and groups have written to the council to object about the scale and industrial nature of the design, the potential for noise and air pollution, the impact on the value of surrounding properties, the loss of parking and the loss of an area of open space. The council’s own Conservation and Design Officer added: “The structure is considered too industrial and does not relate to any of the surrounding developments. It would be over-dominant in the street-scene.”

Islington Council says the Bunhill Energy Centre will provide cheaper and greener energy and heat to more than 700 homes, including properties on the nearby Stafford Cripps, Redbrick and St Luke’s estates. It says the centre will be more efficient than normal power stations, which waste up to two thirds of their energy.

Caroline Russell, an Islington Green Party campaigner, said it would be welcomed, but added: “It should be accompanied by measures to reduce the demand for heat in the first place. The planning application contains no detail about measures to improve the energy efficiency of the buildings to be served.”

Councillor Paul Smith, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said: “This energy centre would bring lower heating bills to hundreds of residents on our estates, using a very environmentally friendly form of energy.

“We’ve listened carefully to local comments and propose to reduce the height of the energy centre thermal store by four metres, to hugely reduce the impact on surroundings. Trees are being kept and there will be increased open space and planting.”

The council added that the type of emissions from the chimney would be similar to those from a household gas boiler.