The Independent London Newspaper

 

Glasses raised as walkers win right to stroll in park by canal

Delighted Leo Chapman: ‘It is a very good result for the public’

Agreement assures access to space that flat-dwellers were claiming as their own

Published: 2 April 2010
by PETER GRUNER

CANAL campaigner Leo Chapman has toasted the news that the public can use a park at City Road Basin in Angel.

Confrontation had been feared between residents of privately-owned Angel Mansions, in Graham Street, and walkers over the right of access to the park at the front of the development overlooking Regent’s Canal.

Islington Council was forced to stress that the public has free access  after a report in the Tribune in which a resident said he was under the impression the park was private.

The resident had suggested that walkers were “trespassing” on private property.

He argued that he had bought his flat on the understanding that only residents could use the green space.

But the council has not only confirmed that it is a public garden, it has called for the property agents to open a gate onto the towpath.

Mr Chapman, who launched the access campaign with Del Brenner, of the London Waterways Commission, is delight­ed that the issue has been cleared up.

He said: “Thanks to our campaign, they have not only confirmed public access – as agreed in the planning deal – but for the first time opened a gate from the open space to the piazza. It is a very good result for the public.”

Campaigners are now seeking the opening of two more gates which would create a walk around the basin.

Mr Chapman is calling for a meeting between walkers, the property management firm and the council to discuss further ways of making the area public friendly.

The move comes after developers of the former Arsenal stadium, now a housing development called Highbury Square, also came under pressure to open it up to the public. Following a campaign by Green councillor Katie Dawson, a path through the complex has been opened. 

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