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We’ve been here before, we need homes and trees

20 March, 2020

Protesters took to the ‘little forest’ near Highbury Corner to protest against cutting down the trees

• ISLINGTON Council has no business to be building on the open ground round Dixon Clark Court at all, let alone cutting down the beautiful stand of trees, (Highbury Corner protesters climb trees in bid to save ‘little forest’, March 13).

Such open space was the by-product of Dixon Clark Court being tall – 15 storeys – built like that with the specific intention of creating attractive green space around it. To build on that space is to deprive the residents of their birthright.

I fought a similar case at least 12 years ago when the Newlon Housing Association, to whom the council had handed the Barnsbury Estate, wanted to build on open space in front of Messiter House.

They won consent on appeal, thus depriving the residents both of their own green space and of a view across Copenhagen Street to Barnard Park.

Of course, there is a need for more social housing, but London is a large area (1,572 sq km) of which Islington (14.86 sq km) comprises less than one per cent, so the limited role it can play must be recognised.

The rights of existing residents of social housing, whether Barnsbury Estate, Dixon Clark Court, Morland Mews, or elsewhere, and of the population as a whole, need to be recognised.

A council which chose to build a school on the only piece of Metropolitan Open Land in the borough can perhaps not be expected to see that. As Conor McHugh of Stop Tree Slaughter at Highbury Corner says: “People need homes and trees”.

James Dunnett Architects, N1


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