Published: 15 June, 2012
• TWO years ago, Islington Council produced a controversial pilot project report outlining a plan to fuse community centre resources in the Crouch Hill area of north Islington.
The really shocking omission was that one of the main partners, Ivy Hall, as part of Holly Park estate, was not consulted or had any inkling about the scheme that ultimately involves reducing Holly Park amenities to benefit The Laundry (Hanley Crouch Community Centre).
Three weeks ago, the estate discovered through its own initiative that profits generated from a planned huge major construction project of 40 new flats would be used to fund the major refurbishment of The Laundry.
Two of our ward councillors, Richard Watts and Jean Kaseki, and our MP are on the board of The Laundry, with Cllr Watts as secretary of the board.
Their conflict of interest at public meetings regarding the scheme feels like a massive betrayal.
The notion that we would suffer the gruelling impact of such a huge project, but not benefit from section 106 funding in return feels exploitative to say the least.
This was vehemently denied by all politicians to residents and a member of the press at a formal consultation event on June 7 at Ivy Hall, only the next day to be confirmed by the council.
It makes a mockery of the consultation process.
The policy of building on the scant resources of council estates reinforces the fundamental principles that the people who have suffered the brunt of this recession, despite not creating it themselves, are paying for it.
It is shameful that the Labour Party in Islington, with its hollow pretensions to fairness, is pushing through major changes at such haste to estates while hiding behind claims to be seeking to address overcrowding.
The scheme on our estate has only three four-bedroom flats, with the majority one- and two-bed flats, and with 50 per cent being for private sale, to fund the scheme and generate funding towards the £1.2million Laundry scheme.
The designs we saw took away outside resources from a tower block which has a number of elderly residents who really need a pleasant outside space.
The designer courtyard within the scheme would require the frail and sick to climb down a large flight of steps, walk down the road, around the corner and through the now-diminished-in-size community centre to access it.
The blocks are so close to the adjacent tower that all that is left is a passage that will become a wind tunnel and cut off the tower from the rest of the estate.
Residents are rightly outraged. Despite requests from the first meeting four months ago, a detailed solution to the problems of 48 displaced parking spaces was not forthcoming.
This risks huge damage to the environment of our estate as a grade 2 site of interest for nature conservation and historic garden of borough importance.
Our estate is home to endangered bats, and we would expect funding from any changes to our estate to be invested in harnessing our green spaces and habitat to benefit the whole area.
This is not what we voted for, and reveals the true nature of Islington Labour and its concept of fairness. We urge other estates which are also scheduled for development to contact us at www.hollypark saveourspace@
wordpress.com and call for an inquiry and review of these policies and the financial arrangements of these schemes.
Save Our Space Campaign Group
• THE council claims it “wants to make sure residents are fully consulted” (MP backs critics of ‘brave’ homes plan, June 1).
The residents' association-led campaigning group Holly Park Save Our Space spent valuable community resources on a banner and some colour posters to inform residents of a meeting with the council and of our website (hollyparksaveourspace.wordpress.com).
Council staff tore down and destroyed the posters.
First, we were told the council gave no such instruction.
Then, that posters had to be pre-authorised. We tried that, only to be told that all our material would be removed.
So our campaign has been stifled, while the council has written to every household advertising its own presentation.
This must be some new totalitarian meaning of the word “consultation”.
Holly Park estate, N4