Town Hall accused of ‘selling people down the river’ over Upper Holloway pub plan

The Good Intent

The Good Intent - Credit: Archant

The town hall has been accused of selling residents down the river over a scheme to turn a park boozer into luxury homes.

A multi-million pound plan to transform The Good Intent pub, in Wedmore Street, Upper Holloway, into luxury flats was approved by a planning inspector on Wednesday – despite more than 130 residents objecting.

Islington Council botched the initial application from TGI Taverns by failing to deal with it within the required eight week period – meaning the developer could bypass the authority and take it straight to the planning inspectorate.

Residents, who feel they were denied a chance to put forward their views because no planning committee meeting was held in public, claim they feel further let down by the council after no councillors attended the appeal hearing.

Islington Council say this is normal procedure and specialist officers did attend.

Elizabeth Case, secretary of the Friends of Whittington Park, which the pub borders, said: “Basically the residents of Islington and its parks have been sold down the river by its own council and planning department – all to fatten the coffers of developers.

“What are we paying our councillors – who are some of the best paid in the country – and our council officers for if they cannot look after and protect a community’s assets?

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“No councillor of any party turned up to this hearing, despite being made aware of it – what do they do all day and what and who are they interested in looking after?

“Barnard Park will be next as The Lark on the edge of the park was also under threat of development.”

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “Our view throughout has been that this application should be refused and this is the position that we argued at the appeal. We’re therefore very disappointed with the inspector’s decision.

“Our policy says we won’t give permission for local pubs to be converted or knocked down unless they’ve been empty for a long time. In reaching his decision we believe the inspector has not given this policy enough weight.”

Concluding the decision, the planning inspector said: “I have taken account of all other matters including the local concerns expressed about the proposal and to the content of the letter from Jeremy Corbyn MP, received after the close of the hearing. However, there is nothing which leads me to a different conclusion.”