Letters: Fighting to keep Wray Crescent Park available to all

Wray Crescent

Islington Council are building a new cricket pavilion at Wray Crescent park - Credit: Archant

Please don't rob us of our much loved open space

Viv Whittingham, Thorpedale Road, Islington, writes:

Politicians in this country are being accused of not listening to local people. 

And Tollington ward councillors are no different. We have not heard them either consulting or sticking up for the local people who are aghast at plans to, in effect, privatise Wray Crescent Open Space.

The disparate groups and individuals who freely use the space now face the prospect of having to look through the fence at the planned new cricket pitch and pavilion. Lovely as these facilities may be, they are not primarily for Tollington ward, or even Islington, people. They will be rented out to clubs and fenced off from free local use. We saw what happened to the Market Road pitches. 

We would love an improved space Islington council, but please listen to the local community first!

I have lived opposite the park for over 40 years and always thought of it as a community space that people are free to enjoy and appreciate. Latterly, a local Friends group has brought some tender-loving-care to the park. And now? All I can do is join with those disparate groups and individuals to fight to save our space for the community.  

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I hope others will tell Islington council not to rob us of it.

Keep park space open to everyone

A game in progress at Wray Crescent

A cricket match at Wray Crescent - Credit: Archant

Jonathan Ward, Islington Green Party Candidate for Tollington Ward by-election, writes:

Islington Council has announced its plans to push through the construction of a new cricket pavilion at Wray Crescent Park in Tollington with no consultation, as part of a multi-million pound investment in local parks and green spaces.

Islington has the smallest amount of green space per person of anywhere in the UK, and Tollington is one of the most densely populated wards in Islington. It is also one of the most deprived, and the majority of residents have no outside space at home. 

This means that Wray Crescent Park is an essential local amenity for everyone in Tollington. Especially through lockdown, it is an important place for the community to meet and support each other.  

Unfortunately, the council has drawn up the plans without regard for local people and the variety of activities they might enjoy. Community and faith groups, and local schools, with their limited sports and outdoor facilities, should also be consulted on the kinds of facilities they could use. The council’s proposal excludes improvements to other facilities for the park, focussing only on cricket. The plans unfairly privilege cricket over a diverse range of more inclusive activities for the wide range of residents.

A survey by the Friends of Wray Crescent found that park users are interested in facilities for all kinds of sports including football, running, bowling and outdoor gym equipment. Gentler activities such as gardening, yoga and tai chi are popular. 

Many wished to see more community events such as markets, festivals, boot sales, fun days and movie nights. Improvements to the playground, more seating areas and a bandstand were also suggested. 

I am calling on the council to rethink its plans, consult on a Community Vision for the park, and bring forward an ambitious proposal that offers more to all local residents