Welcome to the consultation website for Finsbury Square.
As part of this initial stage of consultation, we want to hear from the local community about how we can create the best possible proposals for Finsbury Square, bringing public realm and environmental improvements whilst enhancing the setting of the Square’s historic assets.
The London Borough of Islington has the capital’s second lowest level of green space per capita. The quality and usability of existing green space within Islington therefore needs careful consideration and investment to ensure that it promotes the health and wellbeing of the borough’s residents and workers.
Hondo Enterprises is an experienced London investor and the leaseholder of the NCP car park, located underneath Finsbury Square. We are currently in the early stages of exploring proposals for the regeneration of the underground site alongside the restoration of the Square itself.
The London Borough of Islington is the freeholder of the Square and earlier this year, an Executive Report was signed off by the Council which outlined a partnership agreement to create development plans for Finsbury Square with Hondo Enterprises.
At no cost to the Council, we believe that a number of positive changes could be made to improve the Square by restoring and increasing the amount of open space as well as providing new commercial, retail and leisure uses.
Finsbury Square has experienced a history of change, reflecting modern day trends and requirements. It was originally laid out as a residential Square with an oval garden in 1777, serving as the launch pad for the first English air balloon flight in 1784. An underground air raid shelter was constructed during the Second World War, with the space becoming a car park supported by an above ground filling station in the 60s. The turn of the Twentieth Century saw an increase in commercial development, with a number of prominent firms moving to Finsbury Square.
The Square is a 0.8-hecate, public amenity space, designated as open space within the London Borough of Islington’s Development Plan. Finsbury Square can be broken down into four different elements:
Circa 40% of the space is allocated as hard pavement, a lot of which is of poor quality. There are notable variances in materials and uneven surfaces, which at points can limit access and create trip hazards. There is only one poorly sign-posted ramp which can gain access to the bowling green, with a lack of informal resting places for wheelchair users.
Only 31% of the Square is classed as accessible green space. Large elements of this are negatively impacted by seasonal weather conditions, with the grass becoming waterlogged during the wetter months and dry and dusty when warmer.
The bowling green, which is unavailable for use by non-paying customers, comprises 18% of the Square’s space. This area is only open 19.6% of the year in relation to the total number of daylight hours and the average occupancy of this space during its limited hours and times of opening is 64%.
A further 11% of the Square is allocated for servicing and loading, drawing in the poor conditions of the surrounding roads and the car park impacting air quality.
Beneath the Square is a single storey underground car park with several car parking spaces located to the eastern and western boundaries at street level. The car park provides 258 car parking spaces, two of which are allocated for disabled parking. The remainder of the parking is only accessible by stairs and there is no lift access.
At this early stage and throughout the design process, Hondo Enterprises would very much like to hear your views.
We want to work closely with local communities to redevelop the car park and create a more welcoming and assessible environment on the Square for everyone to enjoy, with opportunities to address poor air quality and promote improved health and wellbeing.
We have compiled a pack of materials to help instigate a constructive dialogue about the Square’s current condition and use. You can access this information here.
We want to give everyone the opportunity to provide their feedback and we are happy to provide a hardcopy of our early consultation materials, so please get in touch with us to request. We would also be happy to set up a phone call or video chat with the project team in order to talk you through our thinking and hear your feedback.
In order for us to start working up our proposals for this site, we would like to pose four questions to help us formulate designs: