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Islington Tribune - by ROISIN GADELRAB
Published: 7 August 2009

Jeremy Corbyn
Rich and poor kids’ play ‘segregated’

Arsenal FC flats development will have separate areas for social and private housing children

A NEW housing development paid for by Arsenal Football Club will have separate gardens: one for children from expensive private flats to play in, and another for those living in the social housing section of the block.
This is the warning from Islington’s only Green councillor, Katie Dawson, who said the scheme is segregation of rich and poor.
Children from the social housing part of the development in Queensland Road will get small green spaces to use, but they will be barred from playing in the larger areas alongside children living in the privately bought homes. Families who buy their properties will get full use of the 3,000sqm grounds.
Cllr Dawson said: “In terms of social cohesion it’s a disaster waiting to happen before it even gets off the ground, creating big problems for the future. Not only have you got segregated living spaces, which is totally against all current thinking on social housing, but you’ve got two clearly segregated groups of people on segregated outdoor space.”
The development, which will include more than 700 new homes, is the final stage in Arsenal’s £390 million Emirates Stadium scheme and is part of the deal that won them permission to build the new ground at Ashburton Grove three years ago. The Gunners promised to create new homes to make up for space taken up by the 60,000-seat venue.
Cllr Dawson said the east area planning committee unanimously passed a planning application for the development in March with the condition that social housing residents had access to all the green space.
But the application returned to the committee last month, while Cllr Dawson was away, and the green space condition was amended to only allow access to a smaller part of the land for some.
She said: “It’s the most stupid form of social planning. People can feel ghettoised, kids will feel disaffected. It’s another example of Arsenal bullying the council and the council not standing up to Arsenal.”
But planning committee chairman Labour councillor Phil Kelly said: “We had no basis to insist on any of that land. Although Katie and I don’t like it, the space on the south side is sufficient for the number of children forecast according to guidelines. We could have insisted on access to all of the space but Arsenal said they would appeal and I wasn’t prepared to gamble. Children who live in the private housing can invite their friends over.”
Ian Shacklock, who successfully campaigned for a sports hall to be included in the development, said: “It’s disappointing, far from ideal, but it’s one thing they wouldn’t back down on.”
A spokesman for Arsenal said: “The amount of play space being provided at Queensland Road is in excess of that required by Islington’s planning policies and those of the Greater London Authority. Councillors agreed the play space arrangements unanimously at the planning committee meeting on July 23.”
An Islington council spokesman said: “One of the requirements for the planning permission was that the applicant had to demonstrate that they would provide adequate play space for all children living there.
“It was considered that their proposal achieved this requirement, with all the different blocks providing adequate play areas adjacent to each block of flats.
“Although their initial proposal was in line with national guidelines, two additional areas of space have also been negotiated. This has significantly increased the amount of play space that children living on the southern side of the development have access to.”

Not so fast! MP to probe Gunners’ coaches decision

ISLINGTON North MP Jeremy Corbyn has intervened after the Town Hall’s chief executive overruled councillors in a secret deal with Arsenal Football Club.
The Tribune reported last week how Islington Council chief executive John Foster signed off on an agreement with Arsenal, effectively ignoring councillors on the east area planning committee, who had rejected the club’s plans to allow coaches to park in residential streets.
Planning committee chairman Councillor Phil Kelly was shocked to discover, at a planning inquiry last week, that Islington Council had dropped its case against the club, claiming officers had used delegated powers to overrule councillors.
Now, MP Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) has vowed to write to Mr Foster demanding to know exactly what powers he used and how he chose to interpret them.
Mr Corbyn said: “I’m astonished that democratically elected councillors at a public meeting took a decision, which apparently could be overruled by council officials. That seems to negate the purpose of having elected councillors.
“When councillors are representing public opinion it’s not up to council officials to second guess them. I’m very surprised by this. I’d be interested to know where they think the legal authority to do this comes from.”
Islington’s Labour party is considering if it will take action to contest Mr Foster’s intervention.
Cllr Kelly said: “We need to find out the facts about delegated powers.”
The Tribune attempted to contact Mr Foster but he did not respond.

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