CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

In the Euston area the crisis of open spaces is hitting us hard

22 October, 2020

• FOR years residents in Euston have been warning of a crisis in open space provision, begging Camden Council and developers to protect and preserve our public open spaces which are so important to our mental and physical health and wellbeing.

The crisis is now full upon us with consequences that are being felt by everyone who lives here.

A list of our losses is startling and needs to be read and understood by every person and organisation with an interest in Euston.

• Hampstead Road Open Space, a pocket park and playground, erased by HS2.

• The BHS Garden, an amenity green space, erased by HS2.

• St James Gardens, a cemetery and public open space with playground and ball court, erased by HS2.

• Euston Square Gardens west, a London square, now a taxi rank and soon to be an HS2 construction site for the next eight to 10 years.

• Euston Square Gardens east, a square, soon to be a taxi rank for the next eight to 10 years.

• The British Library forecourt, a civic square and the only public open space in south Somers Town, closed to the public since March 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

• Polygon Road Open Space, a public open space with playground and outdoor gym, a Camden construction site since 2016.

• Purchese Street Open Space, a public open space, playground and ball court, now a construction site for Brill tower and phase two Community Investment Programme buildings.

• Camley Street Natural Park, a small nature reserve, shut since December 2017 to build a new visitor centre.

We are told, in consultation after consultation, that when all the construction is over we will be left with new and improved open spaces. When will that be? 2025? 2030? 2035? It’s all too late.

We need a moratorium on building on open space, at least until the pandemic is over. All public open spaces, whether privately or publicly owned, should be opened up.

And new spaces, such as a community garden on the old Maria Fidelis school site, need to be fast-tracked so that next summer our children are not sitting inside with nowhere to play.

In the meantime Camden Council should consider supplying Euston residents with free vitamin D supplements to boost our health during the pandemic.

Sunlight exposure is the major source of vitamin D in most people; but there is precious little incentive to get outside in Euston at the moment.

SLANEY DEVLIN
Phoenix Road, NW1

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