Published: 21 March, 2014
by PETER GRUNER
A SCENIC towpath and wildlife area in Angel has remained locked to the public for more than a month due to a row over who is responsible for its upkeep.
The 128-metre path opposite Vincent Terrace and overlooking Regent’s Canal was closed on the orders of the Canal and River Trust because stone steps in a serious state of disrepair were “potentially dangerous”.
Islington Council, who until recently leased the site between Colbrooke Row and Danbury Bridge from the Trust, say it is no longer their responsibility.
Local resident Sheila Scott has walked along the stretch for 40 years. She said she remembers how, back in the 1970s, a group of volunteer residents including herself cleaned and cut back the towpath. “A team of us cut it all back one weekend and we had a party to celebrate the opening,” Ms Scott said. “This must be the first time it has closed in 40 years.”
St Peter’s ward Labour councillor Martin Klute said there has been a storm of protest about the closure of the site. “We need a proper report on the state of the steps.
“But more importantly the council and the Trust need to get their heads together and decide how and when they are going to reopen this excellent site.”
A spokeswoman for the Trust said: “Recently the lease has come up for renewal and we are working with the council to renew their lease and make it safe and available to the community. The council’s Greenspaces team have been in contact with our engineers who have granted access for them to carry out a full survey and assess exactly what work is required to make it safe.”