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Children’s centre fears building work will hit its ‘little paradise’

‘This development will block out light to the playground and create two years of pollution’

31 January, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

Mita Pandya

A COUNCIL-RUN children’s centre fears it will be hit by dust and noise pollution after a housing developer came up with plans to build a block next door.

Mita Pandya from the Willow Centre in Holbrooke Court, Holloway, said the tranquility of their sensory garden and playground could be shattered by the redevelopment of former Territorial Army buildings.

She said: “We have children with needs who need to use that space. It’s meant to be a calming place.”

The proposals to create 118 new homes, including a six-storey block, have been drawn together by Fairview New Homes Ltd, who last year bought out Parkhurst Road Ltd – the company that failed to secure planning permission for previous designs for the site.

In a landmark legal battle with Parkhurst, Islington refused consent on the grounds that the project did not provide a reasonable amount of affordable housing, with the target set at 50 per cent of the properties. The case led to two public inquiries in 2018.

According to staff at the Willow Centre, a third of the children who attend have complex needs or come from troubled backgrounds who rely on the peace of the garden.

“During the building work the problem will be the noise and the dust pollution,” said Ms Pandya.

The former TA buildings

“The timeline is to start work in autumn this year, and it would take two years for the first residents to move in. As it is, the pollution in the area is very high, and construction could expose the children to more.”

Ms Pandya added she was concerned the school had not been told about the plans, and had to find out about it from a parent who had been invited to a consultation presentation earlier this month.

An offer by the developer to negotiate building times around the school schedule was described as “unrealistic” due to the school’s outdoor-focused curriculum.

Ed Seed, a parent whose child uses the centre, described it as “a little paradise”.

He said: “The staff are extremely concerned about the plans. They’ve built this place up over years and years. There isn’t much state child care provision around here. It’s a little paradise for the children. This development will block out light to the playground and will create two years of pollution, dust and noise.”

A Fairview spokesman said they had spoken to the centre and “fully understood” the concerns raised.

“Prior to submitting our planning application to provide 118 new homes at 65-59 Parkhurst Road, 50 per cent of which will be affordable, we will be looking at how best to respond to the issues raised with us and establish regular meetings so that we can work together moving forward,” the spokesman said.

“At Fairview we take pride in our construction management and apply best practice with our Construction Environmental Plans that deal with matters such as working hours, accreditation of plant equipment, dust suppression and noise.”


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