Wildlife site is now a scene of devastation

The former National Children’s Home site on Highbury Park is currently barricaded behind tall hoardings covered with cheerful stencils depicting wildlife and trees.

What lies behind is a contrasting scene of utter devastation and destruction.

Where once there was a tangle of overgrown garden and never built on grassland, home to foxes and multiple birds now lies the demolished remains of several buildings.

In one corner a small fragment of transplanted grass, lies pathetically behind a tall wire fence – no replacement for the precious green lung that has now disappeared for ever.

The developers consistently ignored the planning brief which called both for “the retention of the mature gardens in their entirety and for 50 per cent affordable housing”.

With imagination, the housing could have been clustered on the part of the site that was already built on rather than being scattered evenly across the whole site ruining a final remnant of what Highbury grazing land was like before the city swept over it.

By granting planning permission to this scheme that is destroying the mature gardens, while failing to deliver the required 50 per cent affordable housing, our councillors have demonstrated their willingness to capitulate to developers and a complete lack of understanding of the importance of biodiversity and green space for the health and well-being of residents.

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The Green party, along with local residents, campaigned hard to retain the never built on grassland area. Councillors granted a minor concession to preserving biodiversity by asking the developers to retain a few square metres of grass. The inadequacy of this is glaringly obvious to anyone overlooking the site. – Caroline Russell, Islington Green Party.