Islington Council launches £1.6m We Are Cally project - which could see more ‘people-friendly streets’

West Library in The Cally. Picture: Islington Council

West Library in The Cally. Picture: Islington Council - Credit: Islington Council

Islington Council is leading a £1.6million project which it says will “create new opportunities and improve facilities” in the Cally, and could see the introduction of more ‘people-friendly streets’.

The Jean Stokes Community Centre. Picture: Islington Council

The Jean Stokes Community Centre. Picture: Islington Council - Credit: Islington Council

The Jean Stokes Community Centre in Carnoustie Drive on the Bemerton Estate and West Library in Bridgeman Road will both get an overhaul in the scheme called ‘We Are Cally’.

The council is investing £1.25m and has secured an £350,000 grant from the Greater London Assembly’s good growth fund for the project, which is says will “unlock the potential in the Cally area for thousands of residents”, as it “aims to shape a brighter, fairer future” for them.

Other ideas include introducing more ‘people-friendly streets’ traffic-curbing measures, through bollards and enforcement cameras, on through-routes.

The council says this will improve air quality and make it easier for people to get around by walking and cycling, but other low-traffic neighbourhoods have not been popular in some quarters, and have seen some people take to the street in protest.

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Also on the cards with the project are changes to Bingfield Park, setting up a Caledonian Road Trader’s Association to support local businesses, providing more affordable workspaces for small businesses and creating local jobs for local people to make The Cally “a brighter, more accessible and flexible space for everyone to enjoy”.

The Jean Stokes Community Centre - which is currently used to host healthy eating , arts and crafts, Irish dancing and salsa clubs - include transforming it into a hub for community and volunteer organisations where people can find out about everything going on in The Cally.

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People living nearby and anyone who uses the centre are being asked to give feedback on what changes they would like to see and any concerns they may have about the proposals.

Adaptations are going to be made to West Library to make the building more accessible.

The first-floor hall, which is currently empty, could become a space for young people, with a focus on developing employability skills, supported by the council’s youth employment team.

The council’s community chief, Cllr Una O’Halloran, said: “There is so much potential to build on the great work already taking place in the Cally, and I’m really excited by the possibilities that the We Are Cally programme could create – including these fantastic new spaces that everyone can really make the most of.”

London’s deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills, Jules Pipe, added: “I am delighted that City Hall is supporting this great project in the heart of Islington, which will transform the Cally area into a thriving community hub for local residents, groups and visitors for many years to come.”

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