The Independent London Newspaper


Plea to stop the fairground to protect the green of Highbury Fields is rejected

Mind the holes: assessing the damage Anita de Lotbiniere, Victoria Ellington and John Hands

Published: 6 September, 2013

A PLANNED funfair at Highbury Fields, the second this year, should be cancelled according to residents, in order to save the ground from further cracks and deterioration.

Local novelist John Hands said the once pristine 20 acre green fields are being turned into a brown “wasteland” as a result of heavy fair ground vehicles damaging the grass and soil and creating cracks of up to 5 centimeters wide.

But local Labour Highbury West Councillor Richard Greening accused Mr Hands of being a “killjoy” for wanting to cancel the fair with less than two weeks to go before it is launched on Saturday, September 20.

”People would be very disappointed if it didn’t go ahead,” he said.

Mr Hands described how when he first moved to the area 35 years ago the Fields “were lush and green, a precious oasis of peace and beauty.”  

He added: “Recent years have seen a rapid deterioration of the Lower Field.

“And rather than protecting the fields  Islington council is allowing the site to deteriorate.

“The council has done nothing about the cracks, which are a health and safety hazard and could mean sprained ankles lie in wait for children and the unwary.”

He is supported by Anita de Lotbiniere and Victoria Ellington of the Highbury Fields Association.

Ms Lotbiniere said while she would have prefered the fair to have been cancelled at the very least the council can ensure that the  operators put down ground protection against damage by heavy lorries. “For example they can put down a temporary plastic track that protections grass and soil from damage.”   
The Association has also complained about Arsenal fans being allowed to walk across the Fields to and from the Emirates stadium as a short cut, trampling up the earth.

Residents say a widening brown path and soil compaction has been exacerbated by the decision of the council, unlike others in London, to allow barbecues on the Fields, producing a growth of burnt bare rectangles and air pollution.

Green activist Caroline Russell Green said that while she did not think the fair could be cancelled at this late stage, she agreed with residents like Mr Hands. “These large commercial events do damage to the soil. I would prefer to see smaller community events which have less impact on the ground.”

Lib Dem opposition leader Cllr Terry Stacy said it was too late to cancel the fair but he believed the council must sit down with the residents and discuss the issues.

“Are barbecues damaging the grass? We are one of the few boroughs in the capital, if not the only one, which allows people to cook up in their local park,” he said.

Cllr Richard Greening said Highbury Fields was a resource not just for local people but for those in the borough with no access to green space. “If there is a problem with the soil then the council must deal with it. Parts could be fenced off. But let’s not cancel a fair which people have been looking forward.”


i deeply sympathise

how utterly ghastly it must be for you john when all those beastly riff raff descend on highbury fields to eat their chavvy candyfloss & spend their benefits on low brow bumper cars and twister rides.
how indescribably dreadful when those football fans from the lower orders dare to walk on soil, thereby completely ruining it for the fragrant residents in their huge houses overlooking the fields.
words fail me when i think of the horrors suffered as a result of the thick black clouds of smoke hanging over the area emanating from those nasty disposable BBQs.
you poor poor dears. my left leaning liberal privately educated organically sourced heart bleeds for you.
take heart though john anita victoria caroline et al...the hoi polloi may have won this battle but rest assured the NWO is on its way & what with its global depopulation agenda decimating the plebs through vaccines & GM foods it won't be long before you have lovely highbury fields all to yourselves to host your 'small community events'

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