Developments that have now been completed
Islington Council has expressed concern that the new flats may be unaffordable and below basic space standards. They are preparing, along with several other London Boroughs, to mount a legal challenge to new legislation that permits developers to change offices to dwellings without the approval of residents and local authorities. There have already been 27 prior approval cases in Islington since the law changed in May 2013, resulting in the loss of almost 17,000 square metres of office floorspace, an area in which some 1,400 people could work. In some cases, says the Council, small businesses and charities have been evicted.
Councillor James Murray, Islington’s executive member for housing, claims “Developers have already begun to exploit this, with the iconic Archway Tower on the verge of having a large number of small, substandard bedsits squashed into it, with no affordable housing at all. We are determined to fight this and I am glad that we have the support of many other boroughs in bringing this important legal challenge.” There is an article on the subject on the BBC website.
We are happy to inform you that the new play area has passed its safety certification and the last major elements of work will be completed by 29 September 17. This good news means we can reopen the park to the public on 30th September. There will be a few elements of work and some snagging items to complete after the 29th September, but they will not impact on the safe use of the new play area.
To celebrate this we would like to invite you to the Archway Park official re-opening event with the Mayor of Islington from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday 30th September. There will be fun activities for the children to enjoy like Juggling, Face Painting and multi-sport ball games by Access to Sport. We will arrange for the attached posters/leaflets to be put up around the park and to be distributed from the 15th September to the local residents in the Archway Park area.
We hope that you will be able to come along and celebrate the new play area with the local community
Thank you for your patience and co-operation during the construction works at Archway Park. We have completed the installation of the 5 metre slide, the swings, the climbing frame and the playhouse. However, there are still outstanding works required to the ball court, the play area and the new grass mound. We have been advised by the contractor that these works are expected to be completed by the end of September. The Council has informed the contractor that they are disappointed with these additional delays and they are pressuring the contractor to finish the works by the end September.
Also, please note that before the park is re-open to the public the contractor will repair any damage that occurred during the construction works to the paths, the access road, and the southern lawn area.
We would like to celebrate the improvement works with an official opening event by the Mayor of Islington, we will let you know the date when it has been confirmed and keep you updated about the progress.
It is important that we ensure that the contractor we appoint has previous experience of working in a site like Archway Park that has a high density of trees and also they should have evidenced a high standard of work when delivering improvement works.
Therefore, we have been advised by the Procurement Team to provide the contractors with an evaluation feedback and we hope to re-issue the tender documents in March. We will keep you updated on our progress.”
The campaign to save Islington’s longest slide, destined for the scrapyard when Archway Park gets its makeover, is gaining momentum. More details here, article in the Tribune or follow the campaign at #SaveTheSlide. Local Councillor and WHPARA member Greg Foxsmith has two sons (Adam and Daniel, aged 10 and 6), who are presenting a petition to Islington Council. They urge you to sign it!
Hamlyn House/Premier Inn
Whittington & Cat Pub
A stand off over the redevelopment of a historic Archway pub could finally end – after six years of it lying empty. The Whittington and Cat in Highgate Hill was saved from demolition in 2012 when it was made an asset of community value (ACV) by Islington Council during a crusade to protect its pubs. But the owners, who had wanted to convert it into six flats but retain the Victorian facade, closed it anyway, saying it wasn’t making any money. An appeal was dismissed, as was another application last year that would have seen the ground floor used for commercial purposes.
Planners said there was a lack of evidence the building had been on the market for two years continuously and therefore the applicants could not show there was “no realistic prospect” of it being used as a pub in the foreseeable future, as required by the council. But now planners look to have admitted defeat in their bid to protect the The Whittington & Cat, which has stood since the late 1800s and is named after Dick Whittington – who is said to have been on Highgate Hill when he heard the Bow Bells call him back to London.
A fresh application to turn the pub into an offices or retail space has been earmarked for approval. Officers said in their report: “The historic and communal significance of the property, as a pub, at present does not add vitality or vibrancy. “Based on the lack of demand and without the realistic prospect of the public house coming back into use and given the number of years the site has been vacant, it is not considered justified to withhold planning permission in this case. Consideration is also given the limited historical value, the neutral impact the change of use would have on the area and the appropriate nature of the uses proposed, which are considered to enliven the street and bring the premises back into active use.”
A decision will be made by councillors on Tuesday next week (27/3/18).
Thanks to community support, the Whittington & Cat pub on Highgate Hill has been designated a community asset, the first in Islington. This means that if the owner sells it the community has six months in which to raise the funds to buy it. An application to demolish all but the façade and build bedsits was made. Islington refused, the scheme went to appeal and has now been rejected by the planning inspector.