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Yes, let’s talk about a greener future

22 October, 2021

Views by Dixon Clark Court, before and after… 

• THE “Islington Together: let’s talk about a greener future” event seems like an exercise in deflection politics or cognitive dissonance, (Festival to inspire a ‘greener borough’, October 15).

An idea of the Islington Labour Environment Forum, I understand, the 14-day festival, including “guided walks”, will cost our cash-strapped council.

Much cheaper would be a curated visit to some specific locations about which residents might well be keen to speak:

• the boarded-up former site of the Dixon Clark Court “little forest” of mature trees, where the construction of a six-storey block of leaseholder of flats is underway, together with the estate’s former communal garden at the rear, now concreted over in preparation for the construction of 25 right-to-buy council homes;

• the York Way Estate: owned by City of London but lying within Islington, where the council recently granted permission to build on several of its green spaces;

• the new Barnsbury estate: sited within our environment boss’s own ward, a mega CO2-emitting demolish-and-rebuild scheme will mean the felling of more mature trees by Newlon Housing Association – the council should refuse planning permission and order Newlon to refurbish instead;

• Barnard Park, where the council has proposed a scheme which includes the destruction of 13 mature trees and the installation of a plastic playing pitch; and

• the Highbury Corner pedestrianised space with its empty tree-pits and a dying hedge.

Opened two years ago, the previous environment boss spoke of “a smart new area for people to walk and sit, new access to a botanical collection of trees and green space previously cut off behind traffic…”

Reality has bitten, however, and this unfit-for-purpose area demands urgent reassessment.

Just days ago, an environmentally active friend messaged me: “I was virtually floored by a scooter driving straight off the road onto the pedestrian crossing kerb space.”

Other local council estates face loss of green space and environmental amenities under City Hall’s pre-pandemic “infill housing” directive.

Lead environment councillor Rowena Champion is quoted: “…it’s clear that we must all take urgent action to protect our planet”.

Cllr Champion supported the flood-inducing build-out of the Dixon Clark Court estate to the Canonbury Road pavement edge. No wonder she omits mention of our borough as among six in London at particularly high risk of flooding.

A simple message to Cllr Champion: stop supporting the felling of Islington’s mature trees and building on Islington estates’ green spaces.

Ellington Street, N7


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