Islington people urged planners to focus on community infrastructure in the £1.6 million renovation of the Cally area.
The cash boost is part of Islington Council’s We Are Cally project, which has been introduced to improve quality of life in the area and is made up of £1.25m from the local authority and a £350,000 grant from the Greater London Assembly’s Good Growth Fund.
READ MORE: Islington Council launches £1.6m We Are Cally projectIn a survey of people and businesses in the Cally this week, the Gazette found a number of residents wanted the new funding to be invested into youth clubs, parks and the street scene.
Isington Council’s executive member for community development, Cllr Una O’Halloran, said: “I’m really excited by the possibilities that the We Are Cally programme could create.”
Robyn Sheen, 26, who is a worker at the Sunday Restaurant on Hemingford Road, said: “I believe the £1.6m should be put towards the increase in more youth clubs in the area.
“The youth should be going to such centres and being productive, and socialising with other youths, rather than being at home potentially alone.”
These sentiments were shared by another Hemingford Road resident, Jane Hirst, 53, and Louis Bravetti, 32, who lives on Offord Road.
Jane said: “Youth clubs and activities must be the priority, that is where the money should be focused on because I see quite a few parks but not many spaces for the youth to get together.”
Louis added: “It would be good for young people to have a space for them to gather. I would like to see an increase in the number of youth centres in the area, as it would give the young people of the area something to do.”
He also asked if the £1.6m could be distributed too.
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“It would also be nice if the £1.6m can also be given to smaller business around this area for support,” Louis said. “I would also like to see an improvement on bin management so that the area can be a bit more tidier and efficient.”
Other residents had slightly different concerns.
Dominic Oxnam, 26, who lives at Thornhill Bridge Wharf, said: “It would be great if the money went into the improvement of park areas near the canal.
“This is especially because it constantly gets infested with rats, and it should be improved whilst also making the area more green and appealing.”
Mary Prat, 31, who lives near Cally Bridge, added: “I would like the council to use this money to renovate the buildings in the areas so that they look more pleasant, an improvement on aesthetics.”
A spokesperson from the Dallas Burger Bar on Caledonian Road said: “We have been here for 38 years, one of the longest running businesses in the area and we see various businesses set up for a year and leave, mainly because of the lack of money that is invested compared to other places such as York Way.
“We would like the same for the Cally.
“I would like to see more shops, we are coming up to Christmas and it’s hard to buy gifts on these streets as it’s mostly full of restaurants, there are no shoe shops, clothes shops. I would like to see a range of stores, similar to what you see in Holloway and other parts of Islington.”
Chris Lefevre, 60, who lives on Offord Road, said: “The biggest problem for me is the traffic and air quality. In terms of traffic, it is too congested in the Cally area compared to the Barnsbury area for example and this has absolutely dampened the quality of life here.
“If it is possible, I would like to see more traffic calming measures around Caledonian Road to reduce traffic.
“I also want an improvement on the infestation on rats in the canal area and building renovation across Caledonian Road to make it look more appealing.”
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