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Islington Council to get rid of full-size Barnard Park pitch

PUBLISHED: 16:44 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:06 10 May 2017

Islington Council is getting rid of Barnard Park's full-size pitch. Picture: David Holt/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Islington Council is getting rid of Barnard Park's full-size pitch. Picture: David Holt/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

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Islington has lost its last free full-sized sports pitch.

The council last night approved its own planning application to refurbish the east side of Barnard Park in Barnsbury. The pitch will be dug up and replaced by a new seven-a-side pitch – which will be a third of the size – and “grass areas” as part of a scheme to make the park easier on the eye.

Though the pitch is in poor condition, campaigners such as David Scrafton, owner of Highbury Football School – which trains on the pitch every Saturday and Sunday morning – said it should have been renovated rather than removed.

He said this afternoon: “We have 100 kids training with us. We can’t do that on a seven-a-side pitch. Yet again, the little guy has lost out.”

Unlike the current pitch, the new seven-a-side facility will also be available for private hire. And Sport England also objected to the council’s plans, saying sport provision in Islington will suffer.

However, though the scheme received 42 letters of objection from the public, it also had the support of 126 people.

And at a town hall meeting last night, the planning sub committee followed a recommendation to approve the application, after council officers concluded it would be an “upgrade” on the current facilities.

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