The Angel Association’s Aims and Priorities
The demolition of many early Victorian streets in the 1960s to build the Packington Estate was strongly opposed by many local residents. The public inquiry into the demolition and development proposals was a national, not just local, event and reflected growing concern about the neglect of our heritage of buildings and neighbourhoods. National policies began to change and the first Conservation Areas were set up in 1967. This was the background for the setting up of the Angel Association and many similar associations.
The immediate issue which drove local people to set up the AA was the early 1970s’ Council proposal to create a lorry park by the uncared-for City Road Basin. Local residents came together to give themselves a voice about development in our part of London, and to help make sure that the amenity and quality of our neighbourhood was not ignored but strengthened.
Much of our early work was devoted to helping make the City Road Basin and the Regent’s Canal a facility for all. We supported, and continue to support, the Islington Boat Club – which provides water based sport and training for young people. And the Association played a key role in the development of the adjoining Graham Street Park.
We worked with the Council to get the balance right between all road users, resulting in the closure of several road junctions to reduce rat running and give pedestrians and cyclists a better share of road space.
The issues that first brought us together are still very much with us : enhancing the City Road Basin and towpath and help reconcile the interests of different users; improving our parks and public gardens; traffic calming and reconciling the aims of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
We recognize that our area is changing, we are self-evidently in the heart of London which is growing rapidly and attracts people and investors worldwide. We are not simply a preservation society but we strongly value the qualities of our neighbourhood and are determined to play our part to improve it and to help guide changes accordingly. What do we think are the priorities for us now?
1. To safeguard the mix of different types of housing, business premises, excellent shopping, the Basin and Canal towpath, parks and squares which together make the Angel such a good place to live and work. We discuss major proposals with developers and with Council planners.
2. London is growing fast and there are strong development pressures. We need to accommodate these, but in ways which support the good mix we have. We also want to ensure that amenities and facilities are provided to support incoming residents, to avoid excessive pressure on what exists already. The changes in City Rd are dramatic, and we have worked, and continue to work, to try to ensure that the essential character of our area is enhanced; and that local people and businesses get benefit from this development.
3. Traffic management is a continuing issue for us. Providing good routes for the growing number of cyclists is important, together with making sure that pedestrians can walk safely. This is a particular issue on the Canal towpath.
4. Community safety is a clear priority and we are active members of the Ward Panel. The Panel is the key forum for discussions between the Police, Council and local residents to identify and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
5. At the other end of the scale, we take a strong interest in individual planning proposals, to help support the listing and conservation area requirements that contribute so much to the character of this area.
6. In the year ahead, we will be putting special focus on provision of sporting, educational and other facilities for young people in our area.
We work closely with other residents’ associations, particularly the Arlington Association and the Duncan Terrace Residents’ Association; with the Council and in particular through St Peter’s Ward Partnership; with Angel Aim (the business led association for Angel town centre); with the Friends of Regent’s Canal; and with the Islington Society. .
We are a registered charity and are formally recognized by the Council as a local amenity association.
St Peter’s Ward