MP Jeremy Corbyn
Published: 1 June, 2012
by PETER GRUNER
MP JEREMY Corbyn has waded into the row over plans to “shoehorn” 45 new flats onto the car park of a council estate in Stroud Green.
The Islington North Labour MP intervened on the side of residents on the Holly Park estate who accused the Town Hall of attempting to “steamroll” the scheme through without proper consultation.
The proposal is to build 45 flats within a five-storey development on the car park beneath 17-storey Ilex House. A popular community centre underneath the car park would be rebuilt elsewhere.
At issue is the council’s race to build 2,000 much-needed affordable homes by 2014.
Last week, as reported in the Tribune, business leaders warned that jobs were under threat because of the council’s insistence that every development contains 50 per cent affordable homes.
Mr Corbyn said that, while he supported plans for new homes on the estate, a lot more work and discussions with residents were needed.
“We need to ensure that necessary car parking spaces are kept and there is a continuation of community facilities on the estate,” he said.
He supported Islington Council’s “brave” plans to develop as much affordable housing as possible. “But this has to be done with consultation with residents,” he added. “Whatever is built has to be good quality.
“Residents might be right about the lack of consultation. The meeting I attended with councillors, officers and residents was not a particularly good one.
“There had been insufficient preparation by the officers. What we now need is some proper discussions between residents and the council about what is possible and what isn’t on this site. It might end up being something very good.”
The issue is further complicated by claims from residents that two years ago the council “quietly” considered a plan to merge the estate’s community centre, Ivy Hall, with a new one planned for nearby Laundry Community Centre site.
Secretary of the residents’ association, Justine Gordon Smith, said: “We want a complete halt to the plan.
Instead, we want a resident-led visionary exercise for the estate and we want to be treated like partners not as an afterthought.”
The Town Hall’s Labour housing chief Councillor James Murray said: “We are in the early stages of consultation on plans to provide an improved community centre and new family-sized council housing at Ivy Hall.
“We are also developing plans to rebuild the nearby Laundry Community Centre, which is in need of significant modernisation.
“While doing them together would save on costs, neither project is dependent on the other.
“We want to make sure residents are fully consulted. We have already held two public meetings at Ivy Hall and there is a drop-in session there on June 7 from 3pm to 7pm.”