Barnard Park is Barnsbury's largest green space and a valuable resource for local residents. Bounded by Richmond Avenue, Barnsbury Road, Copenhagen Street and Hemingford Road, the park has a fascinating history and, hopefully, a bright new future. The Friends of Barnard Park is a community organisation dedicated to preserving and developing the park and most of the following is taken from their extensive website.

 

A brief history

Like much of Islington, the area now occupied by the Barnard Park was originally pastures and pleasure gardens. Believe it or not, the park can claim to be the birthplace of cricket! The White Conduit Club (WCC) was established here, moving in 1794 via Marylebone (MCC) to Lords.

Cricket

 

The early 19th century saw a period of intense housing development but unlike neighbouring areas the streets now buried beneath the park – Pulteney Street, Reid Street, Gainford Street and Boxworth Grove – became overcrowded and over the next 100 years suffered a gradual decline. Then in December 1940, at the height of the blitz, the area was levelled by enemy bombs and remained as a bombsite for the next 20 years when clearance began. The new park was eventually opened in 1975 and named after Islington Councillor George Barnard.

Bomb Damage

 

Barnard Park today and tomorrow

Today, the park boasts several amenities including:
• A large football pitch, now rather dilapidated
• A children's playground
• A larger adventure playground bordering Copenhagen street
• The One O'Clock Club for parents and infants
• And, of course, plenty of grass, trees and plants – the park's volunteer gardeners have won prizes in the Islington in Bloom contest.

Park Flowers

 

But over the years the park has become somewhat run down and the time is right for a major regeneration project. Great news, then, that following several years of consultation and planning, Islington Council are proposing a new "Masterplan" for the park and a final decision will be made at a Council planning meeting at Islington Town Hall on May 9, 7.30pm. Full details of the plan, the consultation process and guidance on attending the meeting can be found here. The Friends of Barnard Park fully support the new plan and so do we at the Cloudesley Association. Watch this space!

Park Plan

 

The Regeneration Plan - latest developments

In the event, the Barnard Park regeneration plan was approved by the Council at the meeting on May 9, but in a highly unwelcome development, the application has now been "called in" by the Secretary of State following intense lobbying by a group backed by Sport England who want a larger football pitch.  The Friends of Barnard Park are therefore urging local residents to support the plan yet again by commenting via this website:  https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk (under "Search for a Case", enter case reference number 3183311 then click "Make Representation" to enter your details and make your comments - it's fairly straightforward!). You can read the Friends' arguments for supporting the plan and why it's important to keep fighting for it to go ahead here: http://www.barnardpark.org/news/?p=1439  

The Cloudesley Association is firmly in support of the plan.  Amanda and Florence recently asked members to vote for or against and the results were overwhelmingly in favour of supporting the application.  Here's their email explaining the results:

Dear Residents:

Cloudesley Association – Barnard Park Voting Results

Thank you to everyone who responded to our request to vote earlier this week. Results of the vote are as follows:

• We received 33 votes (from 24 households) who voted in favour of supporting the application.
• We received 3 votes (from 3 households) who voted against supporting the application.

Consequently, we intend to provide the Association's support to the application.

However, in order to ensure complete transparency, please note that we will articulate to the Secretary of State actual numbers who voted for and against, as well as highlighting the number of residents/households we have email addresses for who did not respond. We will also include some of the comments you kindly provided.

Best wishes
Amanda and Florence
For and on behalf of the Cloudesley Association