Disabled man to lose part of beloved garden to redevelopment project
Camden says only a 'small section' will be taken
06 July, 2020 — By Helen Chapman
John Furlong in his garden
A DISABLED man says he is devastated at the prospect of losing part of his garden to make way for a new development in Highgate.
Town Hall chiefs want to revamp the Highgate Newtown Community Centre with housing, a sports hall and youth facilities. But the designs for the site has become a source of long-running neighbourhood dispute.
John Furlong, 68, who has lived in Croftdown Road for 30 years, said: “I am disabled and I had to pack up work. My garden is the only thing I have got to keep me occupied. It is my sole life to pop down the garden and do my bits there. My wife likes to hang the washing out and won’t be able to do that either.”
Part of the plans include redeveloping an existing footpath which includes taking over a section of Mr Furlong’s garden. The council said this space will be used to create an area of access to the new community centre. Mr Furlong, who has arthritis and uses crutches, said: “I have got vegetables and flowers – it is a picture.”
Designs for the new Highgate Newtown site include 41 new private homes and seven affordable units. The council insists a centre for the community of the same size will be included in the revamp, with benefits for people living nearby.
A spokesperson said a “small section” of the garden was required.
“This small space is needed to create an accessible connection to the Community Centre and new public square,” they said. “This has been a key part of the scheme since 2016 and local residents, including Mr Furlong, have been integral in our extensive consultation on the matter.”
“As the scheme has progressed we have continued to work closely with Mr Furlong to give careful consideration to the potential compensation options available to him, including a new shed and landscaping, and to find a solution that enables the continued enjoyment of his own private garden, while facilitating a new, safe and accessible route for all residents in the area.”