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Now how did they dodge their green space policy?

18 September, 2021

• I WRITE concerning Barry Edwards’s letter, (High-density living can work, August 27).

The late architect Harley Sherlock was an excellent figure in many ways. But the fact is that, while advocating the dense city, he himself lived in a detached house with a large garden in the leafiest part of Canonbury, which he had built for himself in the 1950s.

What is more he was opposed to building on the green spaces that were part of the original layout of housing estates.

I discussed that very point with him about 12 years ago when the Newlon Housing Association was planning to build on the green space in front of Messiter House, on the Barnsbury Estate.

It was much opposed by residents at the time despite all the usual bribes. Harley deplored it, the council refused consent, but Newlon got their way – on appeal.

Since then Islington Council has changed its spots and is all too anxious to grant planning permission for such projects to itself and others – for example to the City of London for building four new blocks on the green space of their York Way Estate, an astonishing assault on its amenities, its inhabitants, and on the very limited green space in a borough, with less of it than any other.

How they managed to dodge the clauses still present in their planning policies designed to protect every inch of green space I cannot imagine; for example, Development Management Policy DM6.3: “Development is not permitted on any public open space or any significant private open space”.

James Dunnett Architects
Barnsbury Road, N1


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