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Hypocrites hiding behind rhetoric of ‘green vision’

07 August, 2020

Green-fingered rebels Lynne Friedli and Helena Farstad in Mayton Street

• THE charge of £102.40 for the application for a “residential green growth space” is inappropriate, (Street planters question cost of cutting Town Hall red tape, July 31).

This is a completely arbitrary sum. How was it arrived at?

Effectively this decision was made by officers and rubber-stamped by councillors. This has always been the case in Islington under Liberal Democrats and Labour.

The fee is unreasonable, disproportionate, and may be unlawful. It needs to be referred to the Local Government Ombudsman. It is more than the cost of plants.

The fee cannot be justified as there are no maintenance costs or other costs to Islington Council apart from a one-off inspection.

This high fee will be a deterrent and this is precisely the aim of the unimaginative dullards in the Parking service who live on dreams of an expanded empire.

We can just imagine parking attendants being given incentives to “fine” green space. This is clearly the case of a turf war between Parking and Greenspace and ignores the direction of travel so, to speak.

Ownership and use of cars will continue to fall in Islington and mass unemployment will add to this. Parking income will fall too. Unused residential parking space should be taken out of Parking and handed to Greenspace.

Meanwhile there are lots of bike-lock planters placed on pavements in many Islington streets, for example, Herrick Road. Some have been installed by the council. This is an anomaly which requires an explanation.

Those who are opposed to green spaces and friendly streets are often Guardian readers, with 4×4 cars, who buy everything online and thus encourage more non-residential traffic.

Their hypocrisy is quite nauseating. There should be much higher charges for anti-social 4×4 cars which are simply not needed in London.

This seemingly minor issue exposes the deep divisions which were previously hidden and sometimes not so hidden. They are about to become much worse, with social conflict on the horizon.

My advice to guerilla gardeners is to go ahead and green the streets and gradually discourage traffic. Create green spaces and play spaces and force the issue.

Face down the bureaucrats and hypocrites who hide behind the empty rhetoric of a green vision while undermining it in practice. And the silence of the Green Party has been deafening.

Covid-19 has – behind the rhetoric of “we’re all in this together”– exposed the deep divisions of and contradictions in our society. There is undoubtedly a reckoning to come.

St Thomas Road, N4


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