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The council’s plans for Clerkenwell Green don’t suit everybody

Islington Council has announced plans for major changes to Clerkenwell Green, writes Amelia Braddick

An overcast Clerkenwell Green
Photo: Penny Dampier

Islington Council has announced plans for major changes to Clerkenwell Green, one of London’s oldest and most historic public spaces. This transformation is part of the council’s mission to create a cleaner, greener and healthier environment for all residents and visitors to enjoy. The council is proceeding with changes including planting new trees and resurfacing pavements with Yorkstone paving and granite setts. To make it easier for people to walk and cycle, Clerkenwell Road and Clerkenwell Green junction will be closed to motor vehicles. Additionally, 43 parking spaces and one motorcycle stand will be removed and four new benches will be introduced for people to sit and enjoy the green. 

However, some local businesses are worried about the impact of the parking. Scotti’s Snack Bar, a 55-year-old family-run cafe located at 38 Clerkenwell Green, relies heavily on cabbies, window cleaners and builders for business. The owners are worried that their customers will not have enough time during their breaks to park their vehicles and walk half a mile to the cafe. 

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “Clerkenwell Green is one of the borough’s most historic public spaces, and the improvements we’re proposing will help make it a more attractive space for local residents and the many people that use it every day, as well as boosting air quality and biodiversity. 

“We consulted on proposals to improve the Green in 2017, and the scheme was supported by 82 percent of people who responded. The proposals include planting seven trees, creating more public space, and making it quieter, easier and safer to walk, cycle and use buggies and wheelchairs. 

“Our local economy team visited Scotti’s last week to discuss their concerns.” 

Additional plans involve implementing a statue of feminist and socialist Sylvia Pankhurst by Ian Walters. The Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial Committee (SPMC) wishes to raise awareness about the “forgotten” Pankhurst and has been campaigning for a statue dedicated to her for decades. 

However, Ann Pembroke from the Clerkenwell Green Preservation Society, states the inclusion of the Sylvia Pankhurst statue was “rejected by Islington Council, following meetings of public consultation in 2017 on the grounds that she had no connection with Clerkenwell Green.” Pembroke added, “Sylvia’s social work in the East End for mothers and babies, where she did speak, should not be denied her statue where there is ample space.” The Pankhurst statue is subject to a planning application by the SPMC, which Islington Council will have to review.

A map showing the proposed improvements to Clerkenwell Green
A map showing the proposed improvements to
Clerkenwell Green Credit Islington Council

To keep up with Clerkenwell Green’s latest news and developments, visit the Islington Council website. 

Responses to the proposed Traffic Management Order can be made in writing by emailing publicrealm@islington., or sending via post to Public Realm, 1 Cottage Road N7 8TP.

This article is from the February/March 2023 edition of Ec1 Echo. Click here to download your copy.

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