Published: 10 September, 2010
by RÓISÍN GADELRAB
LABOUR MP Jeremy Corbyn has helped swing a victory for residents fighting to block the demolition of a 150-year-old terraced house and garden in Canonbury.
Councillors at Islington Council’s planning committee meeting on Monday defied the recommendations of the Town Hall’s own officials, who favoured demolition. Instead, the councillors supported objectors who want to preserve the house at no 2 St Paul’s Road.
The building, once a funeral directors and later the home of Islington People’s Rights, has fallen into disrepair as it has lain empty.
Developer St Paul’s Road Ltd wanted to bulldoze the eight-roomed property to make way for a three-storey building comprising seven flats.
Mr Corbyn, Islington North MP, turned up on Monday to tell the panel of his objections.
Speaking after the meeting, he said: “I’m absolutely delighted the planning committee turned down both the application to demolish and the application for a new building on that site.
“This is a conservation area. The building was constructed 150 years ago. It’s been empty for a very long time. We should have real regard and respect for our heritage and older buildings in Islington.”
He added: “The owners have behaved very badly in allowing it to deteriorate so they can get permission to demolish. I hope they will now rehabilitate the building rather than destroy it.
“The development was too dense and took away a large part of the garden, which would have damaged some mature trees.”
John Darrah, chairman of St Paul’s Conservation and Residents Society, said residents were not convinced the battle was over.
He added: “A great many people will be pleased and relieved but they realise that there’s still an appeal in prospect.”
Labour councillor Joe Caluori, who chaired the meeting, said: “The current building is robust and seemed perfectly serviceable and could be renovated.
“The committee couldn’t see an argument for demolishing it and replacing it with a copy.”