Mayor digs deep as work starts on park project
Controversial Caledonian Park visitor centre project faced fierce opposition from residents who fear it could encourage anti-social behaviour
27 October, 2017
Mayor Una O’Halloran with Cllr Claudia Webbe and construction workers
WORK on the controversial £2m Caledonian Park project has begun, with a new visitor centre, café and toilets in the pipeline.
Improvements to the grade II-listed clock tower will make it accessible to the public for the first time, with views across London from its 40-metre high balcony.
The project faced fierce, well-organised opposition from residents, who said the planned visitor centre was in the wrong place and that it would encourage anti-social behaviour. Almost 900 people registered objections with the Town Hall.
The 19th century clock tower, including its bells, balcony and staircase, will be fully refurbished, and the original market railings in Market Road and Shearling Way restored.
The new Cally Clock Tower Centre will host community activities. A café will have indoor and outdoor seating and accessible toilets, space for a park ranger, volunteers’ room and 24-hour CCTV coverage.
The project has been supported with a grant of almost £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Islington councillors joined construction workers last week to mark the start of work on-site.
Environment chief Councillor Claudia Webbe said: “It’s fantastic that work has begun on this exciting project, which offers a brilliant opportunity to celebrate our history, and bring that history alive.”
Caledonian Park and play areas will remain open during the construction work, due to be completed by summer next year.