Save Banner Estate outdoor space
Save Banner Estate outdoor space
Why this petition matters
Islington Council wants to build new homes - for private and social housing - on open space that is currently used for outdoor recreation.
Wrapped around historic Quaker Gardens – the burial ground of countless Friends including the founder of the Quaker movement, George Fox, and the site of four large historic plane trees – there is a concrete podium.
This podium is an important horizontal architectural and structural feature, balancing the sheer verticality of Braithwaite House’s modernist design. And it provides essential amenity space for the surrounding blocks of flats (Quaker court, Braithwaite House, Chequer Court) especially to the families who live at Braithwaite House whose flats do not have balconies.
Whilst the podium primarily benefits the 250-or-more families resident here, it is also open to the public and is a well-loved and much-used resource enjoyed by city workers and other households living in the surrounding area.
Workers are often to be seen eating their lunch on the podium in the sun, and it is used by local primary schools as a playground and safe environment for teaching their pupils bicycle proficiency. It is also popular with roller bladers, hip-hop dancers, architecture fans, dog walkers and pretty much anyone who is passing by and fancies a rest and a breath of fresh air.
After school the podium can be teeming with children letting off steam. Parents of young children congregate while infants are free to play, clearly in view across the wide open space. The podium is essential to the happiness and physical and mental health of many hundreds of people – indeed it has been a sanity-saver during the recent extremely difficult years of lockdown.
The first step in Islington Council’s proposed plans for developing the Banner Estate is to demolish the podium. This would be a catastrophic loss, now and for ever, not only for many hundreds of residents of Braithwaite House and Quaker Court, but also for residents of surrounding streets. This is before you begin to calculate the horrors of loss of privacy, sunlight and daylight caused by the proposed new structures including an additional 9-storey block of flats, and the dirt and noise and disruption of living on a building site for many years.
The proposed development is unnecessary, historically and architecturally illiterate, destructive and financially unviable.
And to what end? So that Islington Council can cram a tiny handful of extra homes into an already very crowded historic site, at vast financial and human cost.
Islington Council has told residents that the budget for this project to build 44 homes is £30m. Assuming the one-bed flats offered for private sale sell for at least £500k each, the net cost to Council would still be at least £20.5m to provide 25 social homes.
That’s over £800k per unit, the majority of which are one-bedroom flats. Is this a local authority gone mad and chasing a project they want to pursue for ideological reasons, when the funds could be put to much better use elsewhere?
Please sign our petition and, when the time comes and plans are submitted, please tell the planners at Islington Council (and copy your email to firstname.lastname@example.org) in no uncertain terms why you object to this proposal, if you value your open spaces in the city.
We / I the undersigned OPPOSE LBI’s development proposal for Braithwaite house and Quaker court in its entirety ( this proposal includes the demolition of the podium )
- Emily Thornberry MPMP for Islington South and Finsbury