Residents accuse Town Hall of ‘breaking promises’ over clocktower hours
04 December, 2018 — By Emily Finch
Caledonian Park clock tower last month Picture Credit: Islington Council
OBJECTORS to a new visitors centre for the clock tower in Caledonian Park have accused the Town Hall of “breaking promises” as new longer opening hours for the centre were approved last Tuesday.
Residents living near the Grade II* listed clock tower fiercely opposed the plans for the centre which were approved by the Town Hall two years ago. The new centre was meant to be completed this summer but workers were still seen on site this week.
The council applied to a planning committee to extend the opening hours for the centre which they had previously set.
Jake Auerbach, who lives near the centre, spoke against the new proposed hours which will see the centre and tower open for an extra three hours on Saturdays during the summer months.
He said: “This is no small adjustment. It is a major, damaging overhaul of the criteria set up by this committee to protect the residents.
“In addition, these new proposals are not based on any factual evidence as the centre has not yet been completed, let alone opened.”
The new hours were approved by the councillors in the sub planning committee with two out of four voting against the extended hours. The hours were approved because of the backing of chairwoman Cllr Jenny Kay.
Jake Auerbach: “This is no small adjustment”
Clocktower Residents Group vice-chairman Mike Power said: “The council are not showing enough concern and are breaking their promise. One of the things they agreed to when the plans were approved were the quite limited opening hours which was a reaction to our massive campaign.”
He added: “The council want to clearly use the centre to make some money for private hires and various other things by extending the opening hours, but what about the residents?”
He said he was also unhappy with the delay to the works which was a “nuisance” for residents living near by.
An Islington Council spokesman said: “Throughout the Caledonian Park Clock Tower Project the council has been in regular contact with stakeholders, the project steering group and Friends of Caledonian Park among others.
“As part of the pre-planning work and planning application process, we listened to the thoughts and concerns of residents and submitted the application for revised hours based on the feedback we received.
“The application was made to ensure that these valuable community facilities, including the Heritage Centre, café, public toilets and volunteer room, can be used for most of the time the park is open.”