New Finsbury Park development a “stake in the heart”
City North was approved in 2010 and its towers dominate the skyline
07 June, 2019 — By Emily Finch
Sam Hadfield and Jon Glackin from Streets Kitchen
HOMELESSNESS campaigners have compared a luxury development in Finsbury Park to a “stake in the heart” and are asking developers to help tackle rough sleeping.
Jon Glackin, from Streets Kitchen group, which ran a shelter for 50 people in Hornsey Road last winter, is angry that City North – a complex of 335 flats being built next to the tube station – has set aside only 13 per cent of its homes for “affordable” housing. Affordable does not necessarily mean social rent.
He said: “People cannot afford to live in Islington where they grew up any more. Developers behind City North, who are outsiders, are not encouraging local people to have a chance to live in the local area. It causes homelessness, with people not able to afford homes.”
The Wells Terrace entrance to Finsbury Park station has been closed during the building of Telford Homes’ new development. Construction delays mean its reopening is expected later this year.
Sam Hadfield and Jon at the closed Finsbury Park tube entrance
Mr Glackin pointed to the contrast between the amount of money needed to buy one of the new flats and the number of people sleeping rough under nearby Stroud Green Road railway bridge.
“They are causing gentrification and not giving anything back,” he said. “It’s a stake in the heart to see their new buildings while people are living on the streets.
“They should pay back to locals for Wells Terrace being closed. We are reaching our hands out to meet with Telford Homes and we are willing to talk.”
Sam Hadfield, who helped run Glasshouse Solidarity Shelter with Mr Glackin, said: “I live in Fonthill Road and prices for homes are now
sky high. People are being forced out of the area. I’ve seen shops and pubs which have been here for over 30 years close down.”
Savills estate agents featured City North properties at an exhibition in Hong Kong this week. Construction is due to finish at the end of next year.
Town Hall housing chief Councillor Diarmaid Ward said: “As a starting point, perhaps City North could consider following the example of Hornsey Road Traders’ Association, who made a generous donation to Glasshouse Solidarity Shelter when it was running.”
He said that planning permission for the development was given under the previous Lib Dem administration.
An illustration of how the City North development could look in Finsbury Park
“City North is a missed opportunity to address the severe shortage of genuinely affordable homes in Islington,” he added.
“Islington now has some of the toughest planning rules in the country. The current council policy is for at least 50 per cent genuinely affordable homes, of which 70 per cent must be for social rent, in all new developments.
“If we are to be able to address the severe housing shortage in our borough private developers must do much more to help.”
A Telford Homes spokesman said: “City North will deliver much- needed new homes to buy or rent for people who want to live and work in London.
“Planning permission was granted in 2010 for 47 affordable homes for social rent and intermediate housing. They will accommodate 215 people and be available via Newlon Housing Association.
“These homes are part of a wider array of amenities such as substantial new public realm, commercial space and a new step-free entrance to Fins- bury Park station. All of these will benefit residents and generate numerous new job opportunities.”
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