Barnard Park Planning Application Call In – Comment Again!

The planning application for the regeneration of Barnard Park has been ‘called in’ by the Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government. A public inquiry is being scheduled to determine the matter, taking the decision out of local control.

We are urgently asking you to again comment online by the deadline Thursday, 13 October, 2017 to give your support to a versatile community park for all user groups.

The call in is very unusual. Only 5 out of 2000 applications have been called in this year. This step is normally taken in matters of national importance such as a runway at Heathrow. The Secretary of State will make the final decision. This local application has been derailed by powerful football interests pushing for a destination sports ground.

We think there is a strong legal case for the application as does Islington Council. The planning inspectorate will now look at the matter afresh, potentially setting aside years of costly local consultation. Hence, the need to comment YET AGAIN in support of the proposal.

Why do the Friends of Barnard Park support the application?
The proposal is a good compromise for everyone. It will provide:

* A modern 7-a-side astroturf pitch. It will be smaller than the little used gravel pitch but used much more. We will fight for as much free play time as possible for local children. A modern 11 a-side pitch as promoted by the football lobby is more likely to be used as a “destination pitch” by football leagues from the City.

A flexible central grass space. It can be used for formal and informal sport, children’s games, events and other recreational activities. Two five-a-side pitches can be marked out on the grass. There is the possibility of a fence to make the circular area dog free.

A new layout. It opens sightlines to discourage anti-social behaviour. There will be all-weather paths for running, exercising and walking through the park, meaning better connectivity and more suitable for the less mobile. It will be a lovely landscape to enjoy, and which promotes biodiversity.

What Can I Do?
Please act by supporting the application with a positive comment directly on the Planning Inspectorate website.  All comments must quote the reference APP/V5570/V/17/3183311 It will take less than 10 mins.

If you don’t have access to the internet, you can send THREE copies to: Leanne Palmer, The Planning Inspectorate Room 3/0, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN.

You can also see application plans and documents ref P2016/1109/FUL at

Public Inquiry for Barnard Park Plan

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Second Pop-up Is A Sizzling Success

Mr Bubbles charms the children with shimmering bubbles

A brilliant day for the second Saturday pop-up in Barnard Park on June 17. Big thanks to all who made in happen. Perfect music for a summer afternoon from Oxjam and other talented local performers. Young Actors Theatre charmed with joyful dance moves. Mrs H and the Sing-along Band performed under the trees. It was hot, hot, hot! The children loved the show. The event was in partnership with Adventure Playground. Katie Walsh and her Playground crew created water fun to beat the heat. Tracy and Ken kept the kids bouncing on their castles. Mr Bubbles made mountains of bubbles that floated through the park. Children threw pots with Pauline from Happy Pots. The art bike was there too. Kids created spin paintings hung to dry on a line between the trees. Visitors filtered in to see the three garden areas in the park tended by volunteers, highlighted in the Open Garden Squares Weekend. Five hundred people enjoyed the day chilling under the trees. It’s the way the park should be.

Mrs H and the Sing-along Band rock under the trees


Young Actors Theatre do cool dance moves on a hot day

Betty Steeles sets the tone for the afternoon – chill!


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Pony Party at June 10 Pop-up

Making friends with a pony

Ponies! were the stars of the Barnard Park pop-up on Saturday June 10. The day was hot and sunny. Two Welsh ponies, Wally and Bertie, appeared in the park with Caroline Hadden-Wright and Sue Byrne from Think Like a Pony interactive work shop. Volunteers built a corral from crowd barriers. Small children were fascinated by the ponies, who they became acquainted with by gently stroking.

Ponies, dogs and children proved a good match. Everything was calm and under control. Dogs and their owners congregated for Scruffs in a hilarious session with an agility course and prizes for the best trick and other capers. Greenspace, the Park Dog Squad and Animal Welfare Officer Joe Clark hosted. Humour was combined with dog education. It was amazing how positively children responded to the animals.

There was a surprise bagpipe serenade by Connie Longmate. The sound drifted softly through the park. Little Viet Kitchen of Chapel Market served barbecue and noodles while families picnicked. Local folk dropped by to have a snack at the Friends Café and to chat with the neighbours. It was a special summer afternoon with 200 people enjoying the park.

Fun and dog education at Scruffs

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What’s On: Park Pop-Ups June 10 & June 17

It’s time for fun in Barnard Park. The Friends of Barnard Park are organising two pop-up events of free family activities on Saturday June 10 and 17, 11am-4pm.

On June 10, ponies are back in the park! Children can make friends with ponies at Think Like a Pony, an interactive workshop. Pets can win prizes at the Scruffs dog event on an agility course.

We are working in partnership with the Adventure Playground, which opens for an Awesome Family Playday on Saturday 17. Mrs H and the Sing-along Band kick off the day. There is live music throughout with Oxjam and other local music charities.

See the line-up on the poster below. Check for updates on our website and on Facebook.

The Friends Cafe will be serving coffee, tea, homemade cakes and ice cream. If you’d like to volunteer please email us at It’s a good way to get to know your neighbours.

See you in the park!

Check out the line up for activities on offer

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Volunteers Ready Playground For Spring

McDonald’s gets the job done in the playground

Seventeen volunteers from McDonalds turned out Tuesday to spring clean the children’s playground in Barnard Park with an assist from the community. The hard working McDonald’s crew reduced shrubs to clear sight lines and weeded the play surface. Year 5 children from St Andrews School lent a hand pruning ivy from tree trunks aided by 
teachers and park keeper Angela Doocey. The children were led on a nature walk and crafted bug and butterfly art. Saskia Vandenberghe and Garry Dwyer of the local police thoroughly cleared litter from around the playground perimeter. Celia Scholes from the park volunteer gardeners decluttered ivy from a huge shrub covered with pink bloom.  In the end, a truckload of pruning was hauled off by park maintenance for recycling into compost to be used in the parks. The work made a huge difference in the playground. Many thanks Lilla Kalmar from McDonald’s and everyone else for their time and energy.

St Andrews students are taught how to use tools safety



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Planning Committee Decision on Barnard Park


  • On Tuesday May 9th Islington Council planning committee resolved to grant planning permission to the Barnard Park Plan B regeneration proposal. Thank you to the members of FoBP and all our friends and neighbours from so many diverse groups and interests, for supporting this plan.
  • However Sport England is continuing to object to Plan B (see below) on the grounds of the reduction to the formal football pitch. This means that the Council is obliged to refer it to the Secretary of State at the Department of Planning and Local Government because Sport England is a statutory consultee.
  • The DPLG has 21 days to decide whether to “call in” Islington’s resolution to grant permission, and have it reviewed at national level. If the Secretary of State decides not to “call it in” then Islington will be able to grant the permission after the 21 day period has expired. So it’s not yet totally clear what will happen but Plan B is over the first hurdle.
  • We at FoBP feel very strongly that we want to work with all the people who have been involved, both for and against the plan. In the end, we all want the best for the community and we have a great deal in common. So we will be reaching out to other groups, from both sides of the argument in the months to come. Meanwhile, our first event will be the pop up cafe and fun day in the park on June 10th. We hope to see you all there – more info to follow.


Park Plan B has now been referred to the Secretary of State


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Comment Now to Support Park Plan

Park plan with circular grass space for sport and recreation

Please help support AGAIN the refurbishment of our most valued Barnard Park by commenting on its pending planning application. The comment period ends April 13. Press here for the Council planning website. The planning reference is P2016/1109/FUL. It is crucial to show support.

Islington Planning Committee will now reconsider the application on May 9 that was deferred last July.  The decision to submit the plan with an enhanced green space for sports and recreation reflects careful consideration by the Parks Services, Council executive members and ward councillors.

It is a good compromise for the whole community developed in two lengthy community consultations at considerable cost. It’s time to adopt the proposal without more delay.

The plan provides:

* A modern 7-a-side 3G astroturf pitch for football. While compared to the old Regra pitch, it will be in smaller size but used more. We will fight for as much free play as possible.

* A flexible central grass space for formal and informal sports, events, children’s games and other recreation activities. There is the possibility of a fence around the area making it dog free. Two 5-a-side football pitches can be marked out on the grass. The aim is to encourage people to get active, socialise and participate in the community.

* A new layout in a cost effective scheme which opens sightlines to discourage anti-social behaviour. All weather paths for running, exercise and walking through the park will increase connectivity.

* A beautiful park which promotes the protection of open space and biodiversity, contributing to its designation as a local Site of Important Nature Conservation.

Please support a versatile park for all users: comment today.



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Two Saturday Pop-Up Events Are On the Way

Ponies are coming back to Barnard Park!

We’re hatching plans for summer pop-up events in Barnard Park. This year the pop-ups, brought to you by the Friends of Barnard Park, are moving to Saturday. There will be two events on Saturday, June 10 and 17, 11-4pm. On offer will be old favourites along with surprises. The events are fun, free to all and open to the entire community.

Here is our line-up so far:

June 10
The ponies are back! Think Like a Pony will bring its interactive experience to the park giving urban children a chance to get to know ponies. Scruffs dog show will give local pups a place to strut their stuff. And there’s the splash challenge for smaller kids at the children’s Olympics. Park ranger Angela will host activities on the day.

June 17
It’s the Big Playday and Performance. The pop-up is in partnership with the Adventure Playground, which will open for a family day for children over six with parents & carers. There will be bouncy castles and fun for smaller kids outside in the park. And more music! Mrs H and the Singalong Band kick off the day. There will be performances throughout the day from Oxjam, the Young Actors Theatre and other local charities.

Bakers in the Friends café will be making lovely cakes and treats. Perfect for – fingers crossed – two sunny days in the park.

Please email if you have any ideas for activities at the events or would like to volunteer to help on the day. It’s a good way to meet the local folk who enjoy the park.

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Barnard Park AGM – Nov 18

Plans for pop-up events in 2017 – free fun and games

The Friends of Barnard Park welcome you to their Annual General Meeting at 8pm on Wednesday 16th November at Church on the Corner. The Church is located on the corner of Barnsbury Road and Copenhagen Street, opposite the Adventure Playground. 

The agenda will be:

  1. Presentation of accounts
  2. (Re) Election of committee members
  3. (Re) Election of officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer)
  4. Plans for Pop-up events in 2017
  5. Update on community gardening
  6. Any Other Business

Tea and coffee will be served. Come and join us. Support your local park!

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Park Gardeners Win Islington in Bloom Award

Horticultural know-how pays off in silver Bloom award

Great news for Barnard Park volunteer gardening!  The park has won 2nd place in the Islington in Bloom contest as Best Residential Communal Garden, behind the illustrious Arlington Square. The category is the general one for parks. Amazingly, Islington came top in London in Bloom for the second year. Impressive! This has been achieved by community projects like Barnard Park.

Gardening in Barnard Park is challenging. As much as we love our four legged friends, dogs and flowers don’t mix. Most owners like the blooms and are aware enough to discourage their dogs from straying into the beds. This year the garden areas benefited from a good deal of rain early in the season. This particularly aided the long border on Barnsbury Road which is dry and shaded in the summer by lime trees. The judges clearly approved. Normally a spring border, the bed was still looking good in July when the park won the award.

The gardening crew of the Friends of Barnard Park have negotiated a Service Level Agreement with the Council for the maintenance of three large planting areas in the park. The SLA provides cash for mulch, plants and other items while the volunteers deliver a high-level of gardening skill.

We’re always welcoming volunteers. It’s satisfying to learn or exchange plant skills. Or (working in the neighbourhood?) just to take a break and experience urban nature for an hour or two. We aim for regular work sessions on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, weather and schedules permitting. If you would like to help, just e-mail us at

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