Run-down Highbury stretch of New River Walk can be like New York High Line, say neighbours

The New River Walk in Petherton Road. Picture: Matt Brown (CC BY 2.0)

The New River Walk in Petherton Road. Picture: Matt Brown (CC BY 2.0) - Credit: Archant

Neighbours in Highbury are urging the council to take inspiration from New York’s High Line and save a green space that forms part of the New River Walk.

Stock photo of The High Line, New York City. Picture: PA

Stock photo of The High Line, New York City. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Petherton Green in Petherton Road is falling 'further and further into disrepair', say the group, who have come up with a plan for improving the wide area that runs down the centre of the road.

The council has said it will consider the proposal, although there are no current plans to improve the space.

Petherton Road Area Residents' Association said in an email to councillors: 'Islington is the London borough with the least amount of green space available for its community.

'With a growing body of evidence establishing a link between good quality urban green spaces and a positive impact on human well-being, we need to love and care for what little we have.

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'Over the years the path down the middle has become a waste land. A wide area of mud and disrepair. It is now a dangerous liability for much of the year, with requested improvements forgotten about by the council.'

The group say since proposed improvements 15 years ago were ditched, the path has become a busy thoroughfare for dog walkers, commuters and schoolchildren, but for some three months a year is 'hardly usable'.

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'There can be no argument that a proper year round accessible path is a simple answer to many of the problems that occur by not having one. If the green was upgraded with better seating it could be used safely in the short winter dark evenings, instead it is currently a location prone to muggings and drug dealers.'

The group added: 'The New York High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan's West Side.

'Saved from demolition by neighbourhood residents and the City of New York, the High Line opened in 2009 as a hybrid public space where visitors experience nature, art, and design.

Believe it or not, the High Line was once destined for demolition. Luckily, the community rallied together to repurpose it instead, creating the park you see today, for everyone to enjoy.'

A council spokesperson said, 'We always welcome suggestions from residents and have been in discussions with the Petherton Green Community. Whilst there are no current plans to improve this space, we will consider the options carefully and estimate the potential costs involved to help inform future conversations.'

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