The independent London newspaper

There is no place for social segregation today

20 March, 2020

• IF the council’s “Fairer Islington” and “climate emergency” declarations are to be worth the paper they’re written on, town hall bosses and their Dixon Clark Court partner need to produce fresh plans which integrate the proposed 14 private homes with the social-housing units, (Highbury Corner protesters climb trees in bid to save ‘little forest’, March 13).

Socially segregated dwellings have no place in the 21st century and Islington must do better than its current scheme for Highbury Corner.

A developer looking to flog its private apartments under a separate “signature address” (planning application document) should be told to revise its plans in accordance with a socially inclusive agenda.

In this way the threatened mature trees can be saved for existing and new residents, softening the surrounding polluted noisy environment and keeping the busy daily walk-to-school seasonally pleasant for children attending Canonbury Primary, their carers and other pedestrians. Good mental health requires nothing less.

No one disputes Cllr Diarmaid Ward’s assertion of “desperately needed new council homes” in the borough. What protesters are challenging is the unnecessary loss of Islington’s limited green space.

A year ago the council helped broker a £42million deal with the London mayor’s land fund for a new residential development on the site of the former Holloway prison.

Compare and contrast this with the Pentonville prison site where more than100 ex-staff flats have been empty for at least 25 years – yes, years. Some of these can be seen from the northern end of Roman Way.

Blaming the present Tory-led Ministry of Justice for this scandal is political mischief. For 13 of those years, from 1997 to 2010, two national Labour governments were in charge of the prison estate, with no less than a former Islington Labour councillor, Jack Straw, home secretary for part of that time, and at least one 1997 councillor still sitting today.

Council leader Richard Watts needs to stop criticising the Green Party and our only opposition councillor, Caroline Russell, as being opposed to council homes. Residents are increasingly clued-up.

Ellington Street, N7


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