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Street flowers victory for guerilla gardeners

Neighbours who put planters in parking bays without asking Town Hall are told the green makeover can stay

03 July, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

Helena Farstad, left, and Lynne Friedli with the wooden containers in Mayton Street, Holloway

REBEL residents who commandeered parking bays and filled them with planters full of flowers have been told they can keep the miniature gardens – if they pay for the space.

Neighbours in Mayton Street, Holloway, bypassed council forms and local authority rules by taking over parts of the road meant for on-street permit parking.

Amid praise for the green makeover, the Town Hall, although unhappy that there had been no application to the council, agreed to allow the planters to stay and waive a licence fee.

Wooden containers filled with flowers, herbs and vegetables have since sprouted up in nearby streets and Islington confirmed this week it will now take applications for parking space conversions.

Lynne Friedli, one of the organisers, told the Tribune: “The main thing is that there should be opportunity for as many people as possible to have a green space near their home instead of a car-parking space.”

She added: “Applications for allotments have closed. Islington is full of car parking spaces yet only around 30 per cent of people who live here actually have a car. This is an alternative. The children and residents here love it. We have been able to watch ladybirds and sparrows and enjoy having our own green oasis on our doorsteps.”

Neighbour Helena Farstad, who also co-founded Islington Clean Air Parents, added: “It’s an important opportunity to rebalance the use of space in the borough. There is so little green space in Islington, and now more than ever people need somewhere green of their own to enjoy.”

More than 200 people had signed a “Save The Mayton Street Planters” petition last week as the time limit granted by the council reached its expiry.

The campaigners had already devised a blueprint for “residential green growing permits”, an idea of allowing residents the chance to construct their own green oases.

Now Town Hall environment chief Labour councillor Rowenna Champion has said she will support a scheme.

“As part of our commitment to supporting biodiversity, we are creating a new application process allowing residents to apply for planters, and we look forward to hearing from the residents of Mayton Street,” she said.

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