Shock as 150-year-old Clerkenwell square may soon be closed

Residents in Clerkenwell are horrified that a park in public use for more than 150 years could soon be out of bounds.

Myddelton Square was built in 1828 by the New River Company and has provided a green space for local people ever since.

A few years ago it was acquired by property developer Marcus Cooper, who wants to sell it to the council when their current lease runs out in 2013.

However, the two parties can’t agree a price.

Although legislation makes it very unlikely any development can take place on the square, some maintenance work is being delayed until a deal can be thrashed out – while a worst case scenario would see the park fall into disrepair and closed off to the public.

June Braybrook, who has lived in the square for more than 30 years, said: “I am shocked. It would be a great shame if people in the area no longer had access as it is well used, particularly by children.

Giles Colchester, another resident, said: “People here would be horrified if it went. The London Squares Act should protect it to a certain extent, but people would be deeply unhappy if any development took place.”

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Liberal Democrat councillor George Allen, representing Clerkenwell ward which covers the square, has launched a )campaign to get the square back in the public domain.

He said: “People are completely flabbergasted as to how this situation has come about. This is the biggest square in Clerkenwell and probably used by thousands of people every week.

“It is very important to the physical and mental health of the ward.”

Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for planning, regeneration and transport, said: “We have offered �10,000, which is a fair price.

“If we need to, we will get an independent adjudicator in. We will not let this drag on and if work needs doing to make the square safe, we will do it.”