Wray Crescent cricket pitch set for revamp despite complaints

The dilapidated cricket pavillion in Wray Park in Islington 

The dilapidated cricket pavillion in Wray Park in Islington - Credit: Jonny Evans

The cricket pitch in Wray Crescent is set for a revamp to make the park "a destination for the sport in inner London" - to the ire of other park users who have complained the plans are being rushed through.

Islington Council says a consultation is underway on the proposals, which would see Middlesex Cricket - one of 18 first-class county clubs in England and Wales - using the park as a base.

But NBF Architects has already been commissioned to design a new multi-use community and cricket building, and a planning application is expected to be submitted imminently to demolish and rebuild the pavilion.

The building in Tollington ward closed to the public in 2017 when severe subsidence made it unsafe, and since then the number of people using the park to play the sport has dropped. 

Some neighbours have complained there has been "no consultation", and say that post-pandemic, the park is important as a "rare and precious green resource". 

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One of them, Jonny Evans, told the Gazette: "This is one of the most deprived areas in Islington with a population density three times the national average, so in this context, green spaces are of huge importance and decisions made regarding their use should be scrutinised properly and widely discussed.

"The problem in Islington is not lack of cricket - it is lack of green space.

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"People here love and need our park. The proposals put forward are not popular and opposition to them is growing quickly."

The council too, says the pandemic has highlighted the importance of parks and green spaces, and that Wray Crescent is a "vital space for relaxation, leisure and for local people to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of exercise". 

A spokesperson said: “We are determined to create a greener, healthier Islington that is fairer for everyone, which is why we are committing £6.9m to improve our parks and green spaces over the next two years.   

“We know how important a space Wray Crescent is for local cricketers, and believe our plans will help make the area a destination for young people to play cricket locally, whilst also ensuring it can be used as a community space for everyone to enjoy.”

To comment on the plans email wraycrescentparkbuilding@islington.gov.uk by July 16.

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