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Cally Road area to get £1.6m in bid to ‘unlock its potential’

Town Hall aims to introduce people-friendly streets and ‘local jobs for local people’

20 November, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Eileen Christie and Amanda Arnold appeared in a Channel 5 documentary that featured the Caledonian Road area

MORE than £1million is set to be pumped into the Caledonian Road area in a bid to “unlock its potential”.

A project focused on rejuvenating the Cally, which has had a history of crime and poverty, was launched this week by the Town Hall with £1.6m earmarked for the area.

A consultation on plans to redevelop the Jean Stokes Community Centre, in Carnoustie Drive, is now open to the public, while a scheme aimed at repurposing parts of the West Library in Bridgeman Road was also unveiled.

The council’s community development chief Cllr Una O’Halloran said: “I’m pleased to see [this project] kick off with conversations with residents on our plans to make the Jean Stokes Community Centre and West Library really work for the community.

“It’s an opportunity to continue conversations and work with people to create better outcomes in the Cally.”

Residents of the Cally were “up in arms” two months ago when a Channel 5 documentary called The Mega Council Estate Nextdoor made the area look like it was made up of “scroungers, benefits cheats and drunks”.

Future aims of the “We Are Cally” project include making improvements to Bingfield Park and creating a Caledonian Road Traders’ Association to support local businesses.

The Town Hall has promised to provide more affordable workspaces for small businesses and provide “local jobs for local people”.

It has also pledged to bring in more “people- friendly streets” to the area, which could see more cycle lanes and roads closed.

People-friendly streets, also known as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN), have proved controversial when they were implemented in other parts of the borough with hundreds marching on the Town Hall in Upper Street in protest.

Council leader Richard Watts has said he wants to cover a third of the borough in LTNs.

The council is investing £1.25m in the We Are Cally improvement programme, and has secured an additional £350,000 grant from the Greater London Assembly (GLA).

Meanwhile, Islington Play Association, which runs free adventure playgrounds around the borough including one in Bingfield Park, has received further funding from the London Mayor’s office to convert Freeling Street into a “pocket park”.

Last year IPA, which helps organise the annual Cally Fest, built a “pop-up park” in Freeling Street.

IPA co-founder Anita Grant said: “We have a grand plan that would see families and children feeling safe and happy walking around the whole Cally area and playing outside.

“Freeling Street is the beginning of what we hope will be a greening and opening up, allowing the community to enjoy their area and feel healthy and happy.”

IPA are calling on the public to submit designs for the park to them.

Ms Grant hopes to extend the park to create a “greening strip” to Bingfield Park and Thornhill Square and then back towards King’s Cross through the Bemerton Estate.

She believes the park could be installed as early as next year.

To find out more go to

The next online workshop to discuss the future of the Jean Stokes Community Centre will take place on Monday, December 14, from 6-7pm.

The first online workshop to discuss plans for West Library will take place on the same day from 7.30-8.30pm.


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