Finsbury Park residents will soon benefit from better education and community facilities
By poppy_smith | Monday, October 08, 2012, 18:30
Finsbury Park residents will soon benefit from better education services and community facilities, as the redevelopment of Crouch Hill Park reaches its final stages.
Islington Council has invested £16.5million to regenerate and transform the formerly neglected and little used metropolitan open land at Crouch Hill Park in the north of the borough.
Once the redevelopment is complete, local residents will have beautiful parkland and education services on their doorstep.
•The Cape Youth Project will reopen in November, offering after-school and weekend play facilities, adventure play and a wide range of activities for children and young people.
•Ashmount Primary School - currently based in an outdated building in Archway - is being relocated to the Crouch Hill site. The new state of the art building will open its doors to pupils after the Christmas holidays, and will be the first carbon neutral school in the country.
•Better community facilities, including a completely re-landscaped park and a new multi-use games area are opening to the public in December 2012. Improved lighting and entrances mean the park will be safer and more accessible, while a new ramp and pathways will provide wheelchair access.
•A new building for Bowlers Nursery at Crouch Hill was the first of the developments to be completed in August, offering day-care and education for the under-fives.
Leader of Islington Council, Cllr Catherine West, visited the Crouch Hill site last week. She said:
"We're on the side of our residents and this development will transform the area for the local community. My memories of the Crouch Hill site are of a neglected park area that most local residents didn't want to use, as it was blighted by graffiti and fly-tipping. Young people at the Cape were also using a building that was in desperate need of updating.
"Though there are still a few months to go before the development is complete, it's clear how impressive the final transformation will be - from the new first class buildings for Ashmount Primary School, The Cape and Bowlers Nursery, to the re-landscaped park and community facilities."
In 2011 the plans for the new Ashmount School were awarded a BREEAM Outstanding rating (BREEAM is an environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings) in recognition of its sustainable design, the low impact materials being used on site and its sophisticated energy systems. The new Crouch Hill Park Energy Centre will provide zero carbon energy to nearby affordable housing Coleman Mansions as well as the school, nursery and youth centre.
Crouch Hill Park is a nature reserve, home to birds, invertebrates and bats, including some species that are locally uncommon or declining. In order to protect these and encourage more species to populate the area, the new Ashmount School design includes a brown roof, climbing plants on walls, an area of planted grassland and wildflowers and more woodland.
Willmott Dixon was contracted by Islington Council to carry out the redevelopment of Crouch Hill Park in 2010. Chris Tredget, managing director at Willmott Dixon in North London, said:
"We are immensely proud of our work with Islington Council to show how it's possible for new schools to have minimal impact on the environment. Thanks to the leadership and strategic thinking shown by Islington, together with the knowledge and learning we've gained from Crouch Hill Community Park, it will be possible to replicate this and deliver zero carbon schools across the UK to the benefit of pupils, staff and local communities."