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Draft Local Plan: Have your say on Islington’s future

PUBLISHED: 17:54 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:14 22 November 2018

A general view of Clerkenwell Fire Station, the country's oldest, which was built in 1872 on Roseberry Avenue in Islington north London, which is due to close tomorrow to help meet budget savings of £45 million over the next two years.

A general view of Clerkenwell Fire Station, the country's oldest, which was built in 1872 on Roseberry Avenue in Islington north London, which is due to close tomorrow to help meet budget savings of £45 million over the next two years.

PA Archive/PA Images

Islington Council has set its sights on Clerkenwell Fire Station, Sainsbury’s in Liverpool Road and the Seven Sisters Road gyratory in a major planning document covering the next 17 years.

The town hall has put forward 10 key points underpinning its policy proposals in the draft local plan for 2020 to 2035, with its top goals genuinely affordable housing and cheaper workspaces.

The council hopes to use planning policy, such as its stipulation that 50 per cent of all new housing must be genuinely affordable, to compel developers to make a meaningful contributions to the community.

Asked about the vacant Clerkenwell Fire Station site, Islington’s housing boss Cllr Diarmaid Ward told the Gazette this week: “We are hoping that the GLA [Greater London Authority] can actually buy the site for us.”

He added: “There are ongoing discussions with the fire brigade and the GLA. This site would help us get genuinely affordable homes.

“It’s only fair a former public site would be used for public good.”

In September this paper revealed the Rosebery Avenue site has cost the taxpayer £416,426 since its closure in 2014.

Under Sadiq Khan’s mayorship, “genuinely affordable” housing includes social rents, homes for the London Living Rent and shared ownership properties.

The draft plans seeks to build on the landmark Parkhurst Road case, where Islington took developers to court and won after they tried to avoid making 50pc of new builds affordable,

Cllr Ward added: “We showed with Parkhurst Road that we are serious about this – and we will take it all the way.”

Elsewhere, the plan considers the Liverpool Road Sainsbury’s site to be “the most significant development opportunity” in the Angel area.

It suggests “a significant amount of retail and business floorspace” could be accommodated on this site, of which 10 per cent would be need to be available at affordable rates – generally 80pc of the market rate or less but judged on a case by case basis for smaller firms – for a minimum of 20 years.

In the Nag’s Head and Holloway, the council proposes the Seven Sisters Road, Isledon Road and Tollington Road gyratory system should be “removed if feasible in the long term”. Its new design could include a cycle route flowing through the borough to link Camden and Tottenham.

The draft plan also places a strong emphasis on protecting cultural assets and pubs across the borough, with one notable example being the iconic Garage music venue, in Highbury Corner.

Earlier this year the Gazette revealed the grassroots club could be bulldozed to accommodate a rebooted Highbury Old Station entrance.

The draft local plan reiterates there is “redevelopment potential” at the station, but says The Garage is a “significant cultural destination” that should be kept or, if moved, it must be able to start trading immediately from its new home rather than waiting for it to be built.

The council is now inviting feedback from the community on its draft plan. View the plan at islington.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/islington-local-plan.

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