Cloudesley Association - Minutes of Meeting

Date: Tuesday 24th January, 6.30pm – 7.30pm.

Venue: Bridge ILS School, Dowrey St


Chair:              Amanda Gill

Secretary:       Nick Collin

About 40 local residents attended

Item 1:            Introductions, Amanda

Amanda introduced the meeting.  New residents continue to join the Association and membership now stands at about 160.

In the absence of any objections or anyone else volunteering it was agreed that Amanda will continue as Chair of the Association and Nick will continue as Secretary.

Item 2:            Finances, Nick

We still have £4,395 remaining in our bank account from the filming funds.  We are open to any sensible suggestions for using these funds for the benefits of our community.  To date we have donated funds to the church for gardening equipment, plants and seeds which Nick has used for his churchyard gardening activities, and we have provided free drinks at an Association party and at recent meetings (sadly, not this one!).  It was agreed we will fund free drinks and nibbles at another summer party in the Crown and we will also donate £300 to the ILS Bridge School for the purchase of new speakers.

Item 3:            Special Guest – Ed Ashcroft, Head Teacher at the Bridge ILS School

Amanda thanked Ed for kindly allowing us to hold the meeting at the school (the Drapers Arms, our usual venue, was fully booked). 

Ed thanked the Association for their donation and gave a brief update on the school.  It has been running for about 8 years and moved in 2017 from Holloway to its present, purpose-built site between Dowrey St and Cloudesley Square.  The school is the only one of its type in the UK which successfully caters for severely disturbed pupils whose needs cannot be met by conventional special schools.  There are currently 26 pupils and 40-50 staff and the focus is on communication skills and emotional regulation.  Ed stressed the importance of community involvement (Amanda and Tiba are both on the governing board) and invited anyone to come and visit.  If anyone is interested in a group visit, please let us know and Amanda will arrange it.

Item 4:            Special Guest – Rowena Champion, our local Islington Councillor for Barnsbury Ward. 

Amanda thanked Rowena for once again agreeing to update us on local issues as she has kindly done many times in the past. 

Rowena began by introducing fellow-councillor Praful Nargrund who is a Barnsbury ward counsellor along with Rowena.

Rowena updated residents on:

  • Barnard Park.

The Council’s plan for regenerating the park, which has been championed by Rowena and which the Association fully supports, is slowly coming to fruition.

  • Barnsbury Estate.

A major, 10-year redevelopment of the large red brick estate at the top of Copenhagen St is underway.  The Council is monitoring this closely and has, for example, ensured that there will be a net gain in social housing.

  • Chapel Market.

The Council is working with local traders to make the area more sustainable.

  • Trees.

All streets and trees in the Barnsbury conservation area are protected.  This means they are inspected every three years (every year in Richmond Avenue) and will not be felled or severely cut back unless there are compelling grounds to do so. Rowena confirmed that the Cloudesley area is due for review and if necessary pollarding in 2023.

  • Liverpool Road.

Pedestrian crossings are being reinstated with a new design, including at Cloudesley Square opposite the Pig and Butcher.


  • Barnsbury Liveable Neighbourhood (LN) / Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN)

Rowena clarified that LNs are the same as LTNs in that they involve closing off or “filtering” internal streets in order to reduce “cut through” motorised traffic.  Filtering involves using camera surveillance so that local residents on the street may pass, as well as certain exempted drivers, but others will be fined.  The main objective is to reduce traffic levels in order to respond to the climate emergency and meet the Council’s target of Net Zero by 2030.  LNs also include various greening strategies on top of the LTN measures such as “parklets”, flood defences, and arrangements to combat heat episodes.

Unlike previous LTN projects in other wards, where LTNs were introduced abruptly in response to Covid, Rowena and Praful explained that the Barnsbury LN will only be introduced after an extensive design and engagement process to establish exactly what all resident and business communities actually want, followed by a formal consultation on specific plans.  Rowena acknowledged the flaws of previous consultation exercises, including the cancelled meeting on Liveable Barnsbury at Bridgeman Rd last November (this is to be rescheduled for late February).  There will be many opportunities for Barnsbury residents to have their say at meetings over the next few months, as well as an interactive web-based tool.  Rowena will also give Amanda a dedicated email address for residents to input their views on an ad hoc basis.

There followed a lively Q&A session and discussion.  The response of residents was largely unenthusiastic.  Overall, members expressed the view that Barnsbury is already a very “liveable” neighbourhood and that it would be in the best interests of the majority of residents and businesses if the Council abandoned further attempts at traffic management.  Key points included the following:

  • Closure of internal streets results in longer journey times and congestion on boundary roads, leading to more emissions and pollution, as well as loss of mobility for those who rely on motorised transport for good reasons – both residents and businesses.
  • The Council’s LTN programme to date has seriously divided the community and it must acknowledge what went wrong and adopt a new approach for Barnsbury with the emphasis on good, transparent governance.
  • The consultation process, for Islington as a whole and to date for Barnsbury, came in for particular criticism.
  • In particular, statistics used by the Council have been selective and misleading. For example, the claim that traffic poses a high risk for children in Barnsbury (in fact, there have been zero fatalities in Islington since 2017) or the failure to report opposition to LTNs by businesses (275 formal complaints in Highbury; zero support).
  • With respect to the greening objective, the Council is considered to be hindering measures which are arguably more effective, such as solar panels, insulation and double glazing, through restrictive listed building regulations, which defeats the greening objective or calls into question the aim of the exercise.
  • There is general scepticism that filtering more “cut through” streets will be beneficial for Barnsbury or indeed Islington as a whole. Plans to close off Offord Rd, in particular, would affect many if not most bona-fide drivers wishing to enter or leave Barnsbury; one resident expressed the view that the Council’s decision to conflate Barnsbury and Laycock for LN purposes was an attempt to recategorize the road as an internal street rather than a boundary road in this respect.

After the Q&A session, Gillian announced that a “Keep Barnsbury Moving” group is being established with the specific objective of fighting road closures in Barnsbury and, by and large, preserving the area as it is.  Rowena accepted an invitation to engage with this group.  Members wishing to get involved should email Gillian via the Association.

Amanda rounded up the meeting and brought it to a close at 7.30 pm.