Tag Archives: Sunnyside Gardens

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Expanding Sunnyside Gardens!

There are two wonderful pieces of Green Space in Hillrise Ward, Islington, seperated by an ugly but underused road. There is a great opportunity to increase greenspace by closing a stretch of that road.

The Green Spaces are Sunnyside Community Gardens and Elthorne Park, and the road is the short stretch of Sunnyside Road that divides them. The road is used by very little vehicular traffic, but is used as a short-cut by the 210 bus, rather than take the short detour around the Southern part of Elthorne Park.

In 2011 a campaign to “close the road” (see here) was launched jointly by Friends of Sunnyside Gardens and Friends of Elthorne Park, and supported extensively by local residents in a petition.

The Council faltered, blaming opposition from London Buses and failed to show leadership. But last year, the lead Councillor agreed to look again at the viability of the popular idea.

At the Council Meeting on 15th October I tabled a question for the Lead Councillor asking for an update. 

Cllr Claudia Webbe in an encouraging reply indicated personal and Council support for the proposal, noting the only barrier was raising the finance. She has agreed to provide a breakdown of the figures.

Local MP Jeremy Corbyn confirmed support for the road closure

Welcoming the support, Friends of Elthorne Park will be asking LBI to “close the road for a day” as part of next year’s “Car Free Day”. This would give residents, park users and Cllrs a chance to experience the benefits of what would literally be “joined-up thinking”.

Press coverage here.

watch this space….

Press Release 19/11/15

Campaigners for Greenspace welcomed the Council’s committment to permenantly closing part of Sunnyside road which separates two Green Spaces in the North of the Borough- Elthorne Park and Sunnyside Community Gardens.
Previously, LBI had not supported the proposal, citing opposition from London Buses who objected on the basis there would be a small re-routing of the 210 bus road.

But now the Council say the only barrier is finance -and the the lack of budgetary options following cuts in the Government central Grant.

Friends of Sunnyside Gardens welcomed the change of heart, and noted that in the next few years there was a proposed redevelopment of the side of the Park currently hosting the Islington Boxing Club-which will generate funds for local amenity from the planning process (1)

Greg Foxsmith, speaking for Friends of Elthorne Park, said “We have had for a long time the support of park users, environmental campaigners, local residents and Councillors and our local MP Jeremy Corbyn- now we finally have a commitment from the Council it seems we are moving in the right direction”

Friends of Elthorne Park are also asking the Council to close the road on the next “car-free” day, so that residents and Park Users can experience the benefits for a day.

Notes
(1) s106 Planning Act. The Boxing Club, currently housed in a temporary structure, is looking to rebuild in a development which may include housing and a cafe.

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SunnysideGardens -Rising from the ashes

Sunnyside Community Gardens are a precious (although small) piece of Green Space in Hillrise ward, the Northern tip of Islington. The physical location is opposite the only significant Park in the ward, Elthorne Park, and separated from it by a quiet part of Sunnyside Road. I have campaigned for years to close that stretch of Sunnyside Rd, green it over and create a larger green space-see my YouTube clip here
But Sunnyside is more than just a physical space. Sunnyside provides a range horticultural and other services,notably helping and supporting residents with learning difficulties.

Fire
The fire of July 2013 that burned the Community Gardens building beyond repair was devasting news, reported in the Islington Gazette here.  (See also this report in Islington Tribune )

    
However, the local Community has rallied round, and until such time as the Insurance settle, and we can rebuild, services will continue. My call for the Council to provide a portakabin was picked up by Cllr Lorraine Constantinou, and with help from Mullaley, a portakabin duly arrived.
We set up a support group on Facebook
And local campaigner Carl Quilliam organised an auction in the Royal Oak pub, where I was proud to be auctioneer at an event which saw generous donations from residents and Councillors Stacy, Horton and Constantinou. And then of course there were the numerous residents who turned out to bid for the lots, and buy the raffle tickets.
But it didn’t stop there. Local residents group WHPARA donated £100 and publicised the event, and prizes were donated by other local groups including Islington Boxing Club and Caxton House.
Local MP Jeremy Corbyn also offered tea in The Commons as a raffle prize.
And there were contributions and help from many more-too numerous to mention (but maybe a quick plug for Archway with Words who donated tickets for a very interesting forthcoming community event )
So from this adversity we have found a real community spirit, and hopefully (if you will forgive the cliche) we will see a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
In total, the auction/raffle raised over £700, but there is of course a long way to go.

letter to local paper

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Sunnyside Gardens Playlist here
Thanks to M.Heath for the photo from auction.