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Historic Upper Street park set for £500k transformation

17 August, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Rev Simon Harvey in the gardens

AN historic Upper Street park is to undergo a huge revamp.

The Town Hall hopes to make the gardens next to grade II-listed St Mary’s Church more welcoming to the public.

The Rev Simon Harvey worked with the council on the plans as part of a wider project to rejuven­ate the historic church.

He said: “In Islington, any bit of public green space is just so precious. You’ve got this amazing street, where there’s lots on offer, but what Islington really needs are places that are green, somewhere to rest and think and be social.

“The gardens, once you are in them, are great. There are all sorts of places you can go, but a lot of people on the street perhaps don’t realise what an opportunity there is.

An artist’s impression of the revamp

“This part of the gardens is probably the most poorly presented to the wider world.” Heavy shrubbery covers the front of the locally-listed gardens, near St Mary’s Community Centre, which have no lighting.

Proposals submitted last week and expected to cost £500,000, would introduce lighting, more colourful plants, new entrances, seating and play equipment.

Artist Harry Gray has been commissioned to produce bronze roundels, with historical inscriptions, running along the diagonal stone path connecting Upper Street with Essex Road.

The park revamp will funded by Section 106 money from the Islington Square development opposite the church. It is hoped work will be finish­ed by Spring next year.

Mr Harvey said: “We’ve really wanted to listen and take contrib­utions from conservation officers and an archae­ologist. It’s a precious bit of green space.

“It’s a bit of land everyone wants a stake in. The dog walkers will like one thing and people with children may want some­thing slightly different.”

Chris Dunn, of Islington Square, said it was proud to support restoration of “this important historic site”.

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