IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

We will lose last pitch where we can play without paying

07 April, 2017

Artist’s impression of the latest plans for Barnard Park

• IT’S clear from Islington Council’s re-submitted plan that it has spent the last nine months searching for technical loopholes to allow it to press ahead with its destructive
plans for Barnard Park rather than listening to any of the current and potential users
who have been begging it to re-think.

To get around its own core planning policy of not reducing sports provision, and to counter objections from Sport England, the council is now claiming that the current pitch isn’t a sporting facility after all because of its state of disrepair (for which it is entirely responsible).

What the council has effectively done is no different from the unscrupulous property developer who takes the roof off a listed building, allows it to deteriorate and then claims there is nothing worth saving.

Residents will now be losing the last free-to-use multi-sports pitch of this size in the south of the borough and there will be nowhere that children (and adults) can turn up and play sports without having to book and pay.

If the council had accepted the external funds available for modernising the pitch, Barnard Park could have served as a beacon for sport, recreation and fitness in the borough for the coming 50 years and saved council tax-payers nearly £1million.

Clearly, the council prefers to placate the neighbouring wealthy residents instead. Strange behaviour indeed from a Labour administration.

FRED REYNOLDS, N1

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