Prince Charles visits formerly notorious Islington estate to celebrate £170million makeover

Prince Charles with gardners and the Mayor of Islington Cllr Theresa Debono (pic: isabel Infantes)

Prince Charles with gardners and the Mayor of Islington Cllr Theresa Debono (pic: isabel Infantes) - Credit: Archant

His Royal Highness Prince Charles chatted to gardeners, youngsters and even popped into one resident’s house has he strolled around what used to be one of Islington’s most notorious estates.

The Prince of Wales visited the Packington Estate, off Packington Square, on Wednesday morning, to celebrate the half way stage of a £170million regeneration of the former concrete jungle – which is being hailed as a housing benchmark.

As well as consulting the 540 households who were living in the old estate about what they wanted, developers Hyde built many new homes to look the same as the nearby period townhouses and made the new estate mixed tenure to increase integration - all ideas the Prince’s Foundation is very keen on.

The prince dropped into one of the new homes in Union Square and said to the family: “The most amazing thing is how you have increased the space.”

He then spoke to Georgia Hardy, 23, and Yaseen Pathan, 21, apprentices on a course funded by the Prince’s Trust.

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To Mr Pathan, he joked: “You’ve managed to survived working here then? Sorry to drag you off site.

“I’m glad to see you’ve got by without dropping anything on your self.

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“I hope you’re enjoying it.

The Prince remembered meeting Miss Hardy at The Pride of Britain Awards earlier this year.

“I’m very proud of you,” he told her.

In nearby Arlington Square he met members of the Arlington Association who have turned transformed the garden from a litter strewn wasteland.

His royal relative the Earl of Wessex had been visited the square in the summer to admire their work.

James Hewson, who met The Prince, said: “We chatted about where I’m from, Yorkshire, and what we were planting. I told him my wife’s family bought a house here in 1960 for £1,086.”

Fellow gardener Alison Rice said: “I had never really spoken to my neighbours until we started this garden. It used to take me five minutes to get to the local shops, now it takes me an hour because I am chatting with everyone.

The youngest horticulturist on show was 14-month-old Louis Egerton-Smith.

His mum Emma said; “The Prince wanted to know what we were planting and whether Louis had planted anything, but I explained he could only manage a dipper action.

“The Prince was very softly spoken, gentle and soothing.

“He asked my husband and I if we had any more children I said we’ve got another on the way but you have to keep it a secret. He said ‘oh yes, of course, absolutely’.”

As he left the garden, Prince Charles quipped: “I haven’t even planted a single bulb.”



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