Save the trees: Islington’s new plans destroy trees, act now to protect them

Save the trees: Islington’s new plans destroy trees, act now to protect them

2024-07-01 Off By Editor

There are just a few days to make your point if you want something better than Islington Council’s planned c.£1.5m+ splurge on a cricket-focused building in Wray Crescent.

That chance exists because Islington Council have revised two drawings in their plans for Wray Crescent. 

You can take action now

What the new plans mean

The submission of the new drawings means a new formal consultation period has begun, so you have more time to object to the plans. 

We urge you to do so.

You can use our previous comments as well as criticisms shared here to help create your objection.

It also means that if you have not raised an objection already you can still raise one now.

We do not yet have a confirmed date for the Planning meeting during which the plans will be discussed. At time of writing the meeting is expected to take place Tuesday 23rd July at 7.30, though this may still slip to Thursday 22nd August at 6.30.

That means that if you want to respond to the plans you have only until July 9 if the meeting takes place July 23, so please respond now, as comments submitted after that date will carry less weight in decision making.

What changes has Islington made?

Changes in the revised plan include:

  • The end of the building is now fenced off with a shared gate to the ‘storage area’ to be made by clearing woodland and mature trees -the trees we want to save. These alterations may be a response to warnings that the previous design created a space that may antisocial behaviour.
  • The paved terrace facing the pitch has been made nearly 30% bigger, taking over a metre off the grassed area.
  • Ramps, textured pavement and handrails have been added addressing disabled access needs.
  • The officials’ room has been changed into an accessible WC and shower (but it’s not accessible because it’s behind a locked gate!)
  • The plant room has increased in size.  (This is strange because the design team have acknowledged that the building systems are over designed, and so the plantroom could get smaller).
  • The kitchen windows have changed (hinged now, vs. sliding before).

We do not believe the changes go far enough

While we welcome some of these changes, they really do not address the central challenges with this design, or the objections we have raised.  

  • For example, the plans still mean the destruction of precious elements of the circle of trees which define Wray Crescent’s space. 
  • The revised plans do not improve or enable community access to the building (no front door for events other than cricket).
  • They just do not deliver significant facilities for anything other than one minority interest sport.
  • Sadly, the plans do not improve the environmental credentials of the construction, nor do they address the council’s own Net Zero Carbon targets. 

This is hugely disappointing and appears to be a very dim echo to the astonishing 796 comments from people in our community these plans have received. The changes do not go anything like far enough.

How to try to make things better

We can still raise our voices to respond both to Islington Council’s new changes, and also other aspects of the design. At time of writing there are an amazing 796 comments from people in our community concerning Islington’s plans, but we will not achieve the community defining, multi-used shared space Wray Crescent needs and deserves without pushing a little harder.

To help achieve this, here is a suggested response, which we hope you will edit, personalise, and add to in your response. A response that is personal will always be seen as having more substance than a direct copy.  

You can either reply via the website or by emailing:

Response to Application Number P/2024/0369/FUL: Wray Crescent Pavilion

I am writing to object to the proposed revisions recently submitted for the above project (Application Number P/2024/0369/FUL).

The drawings show that the paved area in front of the pavilion has been increased in size by approximately 30%, which means a reduction in the grass play area.  The flood risk assessment documentation is also now incorrect and should be revised and reconsulted on, to account for the increased hard surface and rainwater runoff.

The plant room area has increased, even though the applicant design team confirmed the building system design caters for an unnecessarily large number of occupants, and so can be reduced in scale.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my other objections to the project:

  • The building should be designed to facilitate the maximum amount of community use, including having a front door accessible from the street.
  • A Community Use Agreement should be put in place to establish a balance between the sports and community use of the building, one which favours community sport over commercial sport.
  • The design should be revised to minimise the carbon footprint of construction and also to ensure environmentally responsible materials are used.
  • The design should be revised to minimise energy consumption and carbon emissions, achieving Net Zero Carbon operation without carbon offsets.
  • The equipment storage area, if truly required, should be provided without the loss of trees and woodland habitat.  This could be located in the adjacent area of council depot that will be used for an underground stormwater storage tank.
  • The storage area could easily be re-located to the area on the corner between Moray Road and Tollington Place, which is currently used for work on the Andover Estate. This space has the benefit of existing lockable storage and would enable the entire Wray Crescent plan to occupy some of the existing storage space behind it.

I also request that drawings are produced and consulted on that show the appearance of the building when its security shutters are all closed, as this will be the normal view of the building.  The current elevations only show the appearance when all the shutters have been opened, presumably when all rooms are in use, which is likely to be a very rare occurrence that does not reflect the actual use of the building.

You can either reply via the website or by emailing:

We urge you to join our campaign for a better and more inclusive plan for our precious and beautiful community park. And please sign our petition or share it with friends.