Gazette letters: Barnsbury Boys Upper School, more parking and swastika building

Barnsbury Boys Upper School, Camden Road. Picture: COURTESY OF THE CITY OF LONDON CORPORATION/LONDON

Barnsbury Boys Upper School, Camden Road. Picture: COURTESY OF THE CITY OF LONDON CORPORATION/LONDON METROPOLITAN ARCHIVES - Credit: City of London Corporation/Londo

I attended Barnsbury Boys Upper School in Camden Road, Islington, writes Barry J Page, Ontario, Canada.

Older generation Islingtonians will remember it was one of the borough’s foremost secondary schools, and had a remarkable history.

It was opened 1904 as Offord Road Higher Grade country school for 400 senior mixed students, and became a girls’ school in 1931.

Barnsbury Boys Central School opened in Geary Street, Eden Grove, in 1931; renamed Barnsbury Secondary School for Boys in 1947; then the upper school was moved to Camden Road, Holloway, in 1957. It closed in 1967 and pupils moved to Highbury Grove.

A group of former Barnsbury Boys alumni exists and communicates through its own email forum. Anecdotes and images about school life, including recollections of past masters and stories of (mis)adventures are shared and collected on the Barnsbury Boys website: Former school colleagues are always welcome and encouraged to contact the group.

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It is not impossible that Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington’s transport executive, had a few minutes of amnesia and could not reply to my oral question in the town hall on September 20, “are car parking spaces still being added in Islington?”, and replied with unrelated material instead (Gazette, September 27), writes Anita Frizzarin, Wedmore Gardens, Archway.

These things happen. My four previous attempts to find out by other means were also unsuccessful, but that is life too.

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Aren’t we lucky, then, we (including Cllr Webbe) who care about air pollution and lack of physical exercise in London and the concomitant increase in sickness and early deaths, to have found the reply through the Freedom of Information Act?

Parking is what attracts motor traffic, and in a borough like Islington, in which 74 per cent of households have no access to any motor vehicle, that means attracting motorised vehicles from elsewhere. The removal of parking, conversely, leads to less motor traffic and more people walking and cycling, as shown in the recent report “Fewer Cars, More City”. That means more exercise taken by people, and less air pollution leading them to an early death.

Here, then, are the figures for added motor parking in Islington.

In 2015, there were 343 “orders” for parking spaces: four for motorbikes, 32 for the disabled, one for an electric charging point (actually on the pavement, as we found out recently, thus hindering pedestrians), 11 for loading bays, four for the car club, one for a doctor’s bay, and 290 for other motor vehicles.

The first 52, I would say, are “good” parking spaces, but the other 290?

In 2016, 1,331 orders were made, 1,268 for regular motor vehicles. In 2017, 1,429 orders were made, 1,382 for regular motor vehicles.

In 2018, 104 orders have been made so far, 65 for other motor vehicles.

Added up, that gives 3,005 orders for parking spaces other than those for the disabled or doctors or motorcycles or for loading, presumably outside shops, or for the car club, since and including 2015.

That seems rather a lot of parking, and I’d be grateful for corrections to my calculations.

If I am correct, a few questions spring to mind.

In view of these figures, how does Cllr Webbe explain her claim that “Islington is right to act on air pollution” (her Twitter, September 20, 2018) as well as her frequent expressions of support for walking and cycling?

Even if all vehicles in Islington were electric, which they are not, the pollution from brakes and tyres would remain, and so would the presence on our streets of fast-moving metal boxes that take space away from bicycles and endanger pedestrians.

Does Cllr Webbe seriously expect children and the elderly, the groups who suffer most from air pollution and lack of exercise – Unicef has declared the UK air pollution a denial of the basic human rights of children – to walk and cycle in thick traffic generated by Islington’s additions to car parking?

Little local love for swastika building

George W Feltham-Parish, full address supplied, writes:

The “acclaimed” architect Amin Taha who won this year’s RIBA London Award should be very familiar with local planning laws.

He has ignored them and built a totally inconsistent office block with total disregard for the local environment and local planning laws. The building itself looks half finished and is labelled as “awful”. Locally it is known as the “swastika” building.

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