Islington Council has announced a £350,000 upgrade to the facilities at Cally Pool. The Council has successfully raised £250,000 in Lottery sports funding and is matching it with £100,000 of the Council’s own scarce capital funds. The work will start just before Christmas and is subject to consultation with users, especially the organised swimming clubs.
The investment will pay for new changing rooms, showers and other fitness facilities. The present Cally Pool suffers from very basic facilities and users have recently complained that the cleaning standards and general hygiene could be significantly improved.
Caledonian Ward Councillor, Paul Convery says ”My wife and I take our kids to lessons each week at Cally Pool and we all enjoy swimming there. The staff are good, friendly people who are very aware of the building’s limitations. However, the experience for swimmers is not that great especially compared with other Islington pools like Highbury or the fantastic renewed facility at Ironmonger Row. It is perfectly possible to provide a great standard of service even at a dilapidating facility although, in fairness, it is harder and possibly more expensive to do so. The Cally deserves better than this. That’s why Islington’s Labour Council has acted to improve our local pool.”
Islington Council is currently re-tendering the entire leisure contract and service quality will be one of the fundamental criteria in awarding that contract. But with the £350,000 investment in place, there is no reason why Cally Pool cannot match the standards achieved in other Islington pools.
Cllr Janet Burgess, the Council’s Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing added “Cally Pool is a much loved and well-used community facility, so we are delighted to announce £350k from Sport England and Islington Council to upgrade changing rooms, showers and other fitness facilities starting before Christmas. It has needed this upgrade for some time, and I am very pleased that we have now managed to get the funding in these difficult times.
“Older facilities can be harder to maintain and clean but that’s not an excuse and we are concerned if some users have had a poor experience lately, whether at the Cally or elsewhere. We hope our investment helps Cally Pool match the consistently high standards achieved in other Islington pools. I am sure that Cally Pool users will help us monitor this and I ask for their patience whilst the work is carried out.”
Residents, traders and other well-wishers gathered at the weekend to mark the completion of the new logo on the old “Ferodo” bridge on Caledonian Road. The bridge is a local landmark that carries the North London freight line and Overground service over the road just west of the Caledonian Road & Barnsbury station.
Islington Council’s Deputy Mayor, Councillor Theresa Debono, officiated the unveilling and the release of balloons to celebrate the occasion.
The new slogan “The Cally” was chosen in a straw poll conducted by local Councillors in which the winning words were chosen by a large majority of participants.
The new logo represents a further step forward towards improving the look and reputation of the Cally Road. The unveilling of the new bridge scheme comes in the weeks running up to the 2013 Cally Festival on 8th September.
Councillor Rupert Perry says “We’re making a big effort to spruce-up the Cally Road and the new bridge logo is a very visible sign of change that’s coming. It’s important to get a good balance between the ‘old’ Cally and the ‘new’. The road itself is the High Street for our neighbourhood and, to some, it represents a boundary between the communities on the east and west sides of the road. We’re determined to create a distinctive, single place that is shared by everyone so that all our residents can say the Cally belongs to us all.”
The Council had learned in March this year that Network Rail intended to repair and repaint the bridge and remove the old Ferodo advert in the process. At that point, local Councillors through Team Cally, requested that Network Rail allow a new sign to be painted and this was agreed. The new words have been painted using a typeface that resembles the old Ferodo lettering. Apart from the relatively small cost involved in acquiring lettering stencils, the bridge has been repainted entirely at Network Rail’s cost.
Controversial Cally Road student housing nominated for “Carbuncle Cup” – one of Britain’s nastiest new buildings
An £18 million 350 room student housing development on Caledonian Road has been nominated for the “Carbuncle Cup” – a prize for the country’s worst new building in an annual awards competition.
The building at 465 Caledonian Road was refused planning permission by Islington Council in April 2010 but the developer got this decision overturned by submitting an appeal to a Government appointed planning inspector.
In April 2010, the Council did not have any planning policy to limit the number of purpose-built student residences. This only happened after Labour took control of the Town Hall in May 2010. So the decision by the planning committee in April 2010 cited as reasons for refusal: “its bulk, mass and height were unacceptable; insufficient daylight would reach some rooms in the development.”
In a highly controversial decision, the Inspector ignored evidence that showed student rooms would not have the legal minimum of daylight. Instead he declared that “student lifestyle” meant the rooms would only be used for sleeping and therefore didn’t need the full quota of daylight.
The facade of the original warehouse in Caledonian Road, dating back to 1874, was locally listed and therefore had to be retained. It now sits a few feet in front of a new building. The floor levels and internal walls of the new building do not align with the original building. As a result, 23 of the 44 rooms facing the street look directly onto the masonry of the facade’s “back” wall. For those students, the street is only visible at an oblique angle.
Caledonian Ward Councillor Paul Convery was chair of the planning committee which refused permission in 2010 says “I was staggered when the Planning Inspector overturned our refusal decision. His amazing disregard for normal daylight and design standards was quite extraordinary. Now the building has emerged from its hoardings, the full absurdity of the design is suddenly apparent. If it weren’t so bad it would be laughable. This building is a complete joke.”
This case dramatically strengthens the argument that developers should not be allowed to routinely appeal againt local planning decisions. Paul Convery adds “too often, when developers fail to get a planning permission they just automatically lodge an appeal in the hope that they can get a different decision. They hire top lawyers and planning consultants to bamboozle Planning Inspectors. And by racking up huge legal fees, they threaten the local authority with a “costs judgement” meaning that, if the Council loses an appeal, it may have to pay the developer’s legal bills too. In some cases, the risk of costs means a local authority backs down. I’m glad to say that, in Islington, we don’t let developers bully us like that.”
Islington Councillors are calling for the law to be changed so that developers can only submit an appeal where they can show legitimate reasonss, for example, if the local authority has disregarded its own policies or failed to take significant evidence into account. This would bring planning appeals into line with the rules on appeal in the civil and criminal legal system.
The Inspector’s decision letter is available here. It is worth reading for the sheer audacity with which the developers and University College London told the Inspector that daylight didn’t matter to students because they “only sleep there”. The Islington Tribune also carries the story here.
The opening of 17 new homes was praised by the leader of Islington Council at a meeting of the full Council on Thursday 27th June. The new Council built homes on the Westbourne Estate’s Vulcan Way have been created from converted garages udnerneath flats originally built in the mid 1970s.
A handful of the new flats are being offered for sale but three quarters are available as standard Council tenancies. They have been allocated to existing local residents who either lived in overcrowded homes, wanted to downsize or residents with mobility problems who need homes that are easier for them to access and get around.
Of the 17 new homes, 15 are one bed flats that have been created from 60 disused garages on an estate where residents had experienced anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping. Two further homes – one four and one five bed house – have been built on a disused car parking area. The scheme is self-funding with 75% affordable housing.
The new homes are very much cheaper to heat and maintain than traditional properties. The whole of Vulcan Way has been upgraded with new green space, planting, paving and lighting.
Islington Council is building 2,000 new affordable homes by 2015 to alleviate the borough’s housing crisis. As the borough is short of open space, the Council has identified development opportunities for new council housing, including poorly used areas on council estates, taking opportunities to improve the environment for existing residents, increasing the quality and quantity of greenspace where possible.
Downsizing to smaller homes frees up properties for families needing larger homes – Islington has some of the worst overcrowding in the capital.
At an opening ceremony earlier this month, Islington Mayor Barry Edwards, Caledonian Ward councillors and MP Emily Thornberry cut the ribbon for the first tenants moving-in.
Cllr James Murray who represents Caledonian’s neighbouring Barnsbury Ward and is Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development said: “Islington faces a housing crisis – with government benefit cuts and private sector rent rises making it harder and harder for many residents to afford to live here. Building new council homes for local people helps families living in overcrowding and means we can make sure there is more genuinely-affordable housing in Islington.
Cally Labour Councillors are asking for the public’s opinions on a new sign for the railway bridge which is currently being repainted.
A few weeks ago, Islington Council learned that Network Rail was planning substantial maintenance of the bridge over Caledonian Rd.
A major part of the maintenance involves a complete repaint and this will remove the now faded “Ferodo” name.
Network Rail intends to paint the bridge in a bright blue – as they have already done at Camden Road.
Their plans have moved quickly. The maintenance work is already underway with half the road width blocked by scaffolding and one-way traffic working.
In the past fortnight, Team Cally and Islington Council have reached an agreement with Network Rail to permit a new legend on the bridge to create a new landmark sign on the bridge.
Because time is short we need to keep this simple.
Cllr Paul Convery says “Many people have a soft spot for the old sign. The name “Ferodo” has been a landmark on the Cally Road for decades. But it’s days are clearly numbered. It is, after all, an advertisement for a brake linings company that went bust in 2001.
“Many things are turning around on the Cally these days. We have the annual Cally Festival now well established, a Saturday street market, new businesses opening up, road safety measures and a programme of environmental improvements on our high street. It makes sense to paint a new legend on the bridge that reflects the renewed sense of identity for the Cally.”
Three possible legends are illustrated in the pictures to the right. Please let the local Councillors know which you think would suit best. Indeed if you have a better idea for a simple sign, please let us know. The three modelled suggestions are:
- CALEDONIAN ROAD
- CALLY ROAD
- THE CALLY
Contact us with your opinions or ideas by email (callylabourcouncillors @ gmail.com) We shall be taking a decision within the next 5 days.
The result of our straw poll reveals “The Cally” as favourite .. with “Cally Road” second choice. We are now moving quickly to order stencils in order to slot-into the Network Rail repaint operation which is already underway. One very good suggestion which was made is to use a typeface that is close to the font used in the Ferodo logo. Seems the original is a unique, proprietary font which is not available to reproduce and the closest lookalike appears to be a font called Othello. See examples at http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/mti/othello-mt/regular/
The fire brigade has revealed that its fire engines do not reach emergencies in Caledonian Ward within the target arrival time of 6 minutes. This will worsen under a cuts plan put forward by Tory Mayor Boris Johnson.
The fire brigade this week was forced to publish figures showing the current response times for every neighbourhood in London – and what the response times would be if the Mayor’s plan – to close 12 fire stations, remove 18 appliances and cut 520 firefighters across London – is carried out.
The fire brigade promises Londoners that a 1st fire engine will arrive at any incident within 6 minutes and a 2nd one, if required, within 8 minutes. The brigade admits that response times across Islington will worsen if fire stations are closed. They claim that the 6 minute average response time can still be honoured. But in 3 parts of Islington this will not be the case if fire stations are closed.
In Caledonian Ward, the fire brigade is currently not meeting the target – the average response time is 6 minutes and 9 secs. Under Mayor Johnson’s cuts plan, the average in Caledonian ward is calculated to get worse by a further 8 secs on average.
Johnson’s plan would close Clerkenwell fire station which is located on Rosebery Avenue opposite the Mount Pleasant post office. Fire engines from Clerkenwell regularly attend incidents in Caledonian Ward including high profile spots like Kings Cross. Appliances from Clerkenwell were first on the scene at the worst incidents in local history such as the Kings Cross tube station fire and the 7/7 bombings.
Caledonian Labour Councillor, Paul Convery, says “Homes and businesses in Caledonian Ward are already at risk because the fire service cannot currently meet the 6 minute target. Boris Johnson’s crazy plan to close fire stations will put our residents at even greater risk. Why? Because he is obsessed with cutting Council Tax by 7p a week.”
“But the Mayor controls a budget of more than £16 billion a year. The cuts he has demanded from the fire service amount to 0.4% of his entire annual budget. Surely he can find that through efficiency savings somewhere in his City Hall empire”.
The LFB document showing how these cuts will affect every neighbourhood in London are at http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/Documents/ward-impacts.pdf