Treasured park is under threat

This year will see the 25th anniversary of the wonderful Gillespie Park festival – if it goes ahead. Gillespie Park itself only exists thanks to a community campaign 25 years ago to “save the sidings”, following which the park was sold to the council for one pound for the benefit of the local community.

This week Islington Council’s executive met to agree to set this year’s budget, which will slash the council’s sustainability spending by a total of three-quarters of a million pounds. We know this will have significant effects on Gillespie Park, Islington’s second-largest green space, and on the Ecology Centre there. But we don’t know yet what these effects will be, because despite increasingly urgent requests from the Friends of Gillespie Park, councillors have not given details of what is proposed.

At an emergency meeting last week (just prior to the setting of the budget), further pressure from the Friends and from other concerned residents led to council officers agreeing to meet the Friends to discuss the options before these are finalised.

Thus, we hope that the Friends will now be able to use their 25 years’ knowledge and experience of the Park and the Ecology Centre to help find the best possible way of safeguarding the Park and the Ecology Centre for the local community and for future generations. – Emma Dixon, Friends of Gillespie Park, N5.