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Company is accused of having ‘no respect for nature’ after cutting down trees by canal

Ian Shacklock, chairman of the Friends of Regent’s Canal, at the canal bank

Ian Shacklock, chairman of the Friends of Regent’s Canal, at the canal bank that has been cleared. Below: how it previously looked

 
How it previously looked

Published: 29 April, 2016
by KOOS COUVÉE

CAMPAIGNERS are up in arms over a company’s decision to clear a stretch of shrubs and trees on the Regent’s Canal bank near Angel. 

Neighbours and members of the Friends of Regent’s Canal were shocked to see the previously leafy bank adjacent to a Victorian industrial building behind Arlington Avenue, between Angel and Hoxton, razed to the ground three weeks ago.

Ian Shacklock, chairman of the Friends, told the Tribune: “It completely changes the character of the area. You get a rural feel in the middle of London and that’s now gone. It’s not just humans who benefit, it’s the biodiversity which attracts a lot of other species. It gives the area a tranquil feel. It’s green, leafy and clean. And Islington already has so little green space. To just clear it like this shows no respect for nature or the people living around here.”

He added: “It’s the secrecy of it and the lack of consultation that gets me. Apparently the Canal and River Trust (CRT) did not know about it.”

A neighbour, who did not want to give her name, also expressed regret at the clearance, and the loss of a Robinia tree. The other trees that were cut down were sycamores, the Tribune understands.

The building, known as Arlington Wharf, an old veneer yard, was last in use 18 months ago as storage space. It has been owned by Barry Clutterbuck of Springvale Ltd and Blake Gorst of Clerks Well Properties since the late 1980s.

The owners initially wanted to convert it into flats but now intend to rent it out as offices, for which they have the support of Islington Council. Building work is ongoing, and the owners’ agent said they had been “in conversation” with CRT over the clearance and intend to level and landscape the bank.

However, the Trust also expressed concern about the clearance, saying details had not yet been agreed, and suggested the owners may have to plant back the trees and vegetation.

A CRT spokesman said: “While we’d discussed improvements that could be made to the banking, the detail of this had not yet been agreed. Like others, we have concerns about the extent of the clearance and the timing. 

“We’ve already been in touch with the developers to look at what can be done to rectify what’s happened, including looking at a planting plan and widening the towpath along this popular stretch of canal.”

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