Published: 5 July, 2013
by PETER GRUNER
CAMPAIGNERS who tried to walk along a mile-long circular towpath around City Basin at the Angel gave up this week after finding four locked gates blocked their way.
They spoke out against the obstructions as work continues on a 36-storey tower block – the biggest in the borough – which will overshadow the lock and Islington Boat Club.
Walkers argue that they can’t use much of the towpath around the basin despite promises by Islington Council, because of locked gates and obstacles.
Activist Leo Chapman said that the council has so far failed to implement the 2004 Masterplan providing the linear park for the canal basin.
“The park’s walkway is blocked by four gates,” he said.”
"Two are council-owned, a third belongs to the National Grid, which is happy to open it. The fourth gate has no planning permission but is jealously guarded by property developer Groveworld Ltd.
"It has its offices a few yards away under the 84-flats Angel Waterside block overlooking the basin. It does open the gate at set times daily.”
Ian Shacklock, who chairs the Friends of Regent Canal, said the basin is a public space with a new piazza but few people are aware of it.
“I want to see more signs and publicity about the park, more gates open and more people using it,” he said.
Gillian Comins, 80, a member of the Angel Association, said she has waited many years for the basin to be opened for walkers.
“It is a wonderful open space but few people are aware that it exists. And of course you can’t walk around the perimeter.”
Councillor Martin Klute said Islington is negotiating with landlords to open all the gates.
“We can’t have gates open 24 hours because there is a significant anti-social element at the basin,” he said. “The last few weeks has been horrendous with troublemakers meeting on the towpath and riding mopeds up and down at 2am.
“However, we want to see more people using the park and better signage.”