Catherine West and council leaders and workers look over the plans
Published: 8 June, 2012
by ANDREW JOHNSON and GEORGE LINDSAY-WATSON
A UNIQUE agreement between Islington and its neighbouring boroughs of Haringey and Hackney will – it is hoped – spark the regeneration of the Finsbury Park area.
The tri-borough agreement was signed at the new Park Theatre in Clifton Terrace on Friday in order to overcome the problems of crime, housing and unemployment, which plague the area.
Finsbury Park is split between the three councils and it is thought a failure to coordinate has been an obstacle to improving the area.
The Finsbury Park Accord sets out an 11-point plan to treat the area as a single “town centre”.
These include cracking down on crime, improving the town centre area, particularly around the underground station, and investing in the park, described as a great asset but invisible from the station; building on the arts organistions in the area, such as the new theatre and Platform youth club.
Listing the area’s strengths and weaknesses the accord adds: “It is a vibrant, dynamic, and relatively affordable place to live or start a business. It is a busy multicultural area with cafés and shops that reflect that diversity. Another strength is its excellent public transport accessibility. Each year 2.5 million passengers interchange at Finsbury Park Station.”
But on the downside it says: “Finsbury Park is one of the most deprived areas in the country. A high crime rate and associated perception of crime are contributing factors to the reputation and experience of Finsbury Park. The urban fabric is severely constrained by roads, railways and poor quality public spaces.”
Islington Council’s leader Catherine West said the accord would “bring jobs, investment and development”.
“We want to create opportunity for families and young people – as well as visitors – in our shared town centre,” she said. “We’ll work better together with existing resources, lining up our services to get the basics – safer and cleaner streets – right.”
The Accord builds on work started by the North London Strategic Alliance (NLSA), which brought together the three boroughs, Transport for London, Network Rail and FinFuture.
John McGill, NLSA director, said: “The Accord is a real statement of intent and leadership by the three boroughs to work together to develop an exciting future for the whole of Finsbury Park.”
Housing estates in the area including Woodbury Down, Alexandra National and Kings Crescent, are also undergoing renovation to create hundreds of new homes. In the next 20 years 4,600 new mixed tenure homes and community facilities will be built in Woodberry Down alone.
Haringey council leader Claire Kober said: “Teaming up with our neighbours Hackney and Islington is the best possible way of making sure that we can deliver significant and lasting improvements to benefit everyone who works in, lives in and visits Finsbury Park.”