Future of treasured Highbury park guaranteed by Queen

The second largest green space in Islington has been safeguarded for generations to come by the Queen as part of the London 2012 legacy.

The 2.8 hectare Gillespie Park Nature Reserve, off Drayton Park, Highbury, has become one of the first parks to be protected by royal decree under the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge.

Emma Dixon, of the Friends of Gillespie Park, said: “We have been fighting to protect this precious resource for future generations. We are extremely proud that Gillespie Park is now protected in perpetuity and we would like to thank Islington Council for working with us to achieve this.”

The Fields Challenge scheme will see 2,012 green spaces permanently safeguarded as recreational land, to celebrate both the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year.

Gillespie Park, which is home to many rare species of wildlife and hosts Islington’s ecology centre and an annual festival, was opened 25 years ago after it was handed to the council for �1.

Ms Dixon added: “Frequently we see places being concreted over and built upon, but Gillespie will now remain a beautiful park forever.”

In February, Islington Council pledged to keep the ecology centre going, despite slashing �750,000 from its overall sustainability budget in the face of unprecedented cuts from central government.