Islington Tribune
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Islington Tribune - by PETER GRUNER
Published: 6 February 2009

From left: Cllr Janet Burgess, George Durack, Jan Tucker and Cllr Wally Burgess outside the cottages
‘We’ll chain ourselves to railings to save historic cottages’

A CAMPAIGN was launched in Upper Holloway this week to save two ornate Victorian cottages – designed by Sir James Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament – which are being sold at auction by Islington Council.
Residents claim there was no consultation over the sale of the much-loved council-owned properties and the first they knew about it was when they spotted the ­auction signs.
They fear that the Grade II-listed cottages, part of St John’s church, built in 1826, are being “given away cheap” at a starting price of just £750,000 – or £75 per square foot
Campaigners, with support from the vicar of St John’s, Rev Dr Karowei Dorgue, want the cottages in ­Pemberton Gardens, off ­Holloway Road, which were being used as offices by the council, to be turned into a much-needed youth or ­community centre.
Local architect and former chairman of Archway Residents and Traders Association, Chris Roche, said that £75 a square foot was a very poor deal for the council.
He added: “These delightful cottages are being sold it seems for a quarter of their market value. They will then be converted to luxury residential flats that might fetch at least £300 a square foot.”
Jan Tucker, who lives nearby and is a member of the Better Archway Forum, said: “Islington Council hasn’t even consulted us about this. The first we knew was when our chairwoman saw the auction sign on Monday this week. If they dare pull them down we’ll be chaining ourselves to the railings.”
Rev Dorgue said St John’s were forced to sell the ­cottages to the council in 1996 to raise funds for repairs to the church.
“If we had the money we would try and buy them back,” he said. “I believe they would make a perfect youth or community centre.”
George Durack chairman of Islington’s Pensioners Forum is also against the sale of the cottages, which are being used by the ­council’s occupational health service.
Islington Council announced plans to sell more than £6million worth of properties last November to pay for future projects.

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