A £2 million regeneration package for “tatty” Archway has been approved by Islington council. Only 30 minutes from the West End and an easy walk from both Hampstead Heath and classy Highgate Village, Archway ought to be among north London’s hottest postcodes.
In reality visitors emerge from Archway Tube to find a miserable area blighted by a traffic-clogged gyratory system, shabby shops and ugly Seventies towers.
But now its fortunes are set to change with a new road system, brighter stores and public spaces and a theatre project. The long process of redrawing the local road network to get rid of the gyratory is set to begin.
Councillor Paul Convery, Islington Council’s regeneration chief, said: “We’re committed to this project. Archway is a great area but faces significant challenges. More than anything we want to get rid of the blight of this appalling gyratory. We cannot do this without Transport for London’s support and funding and we will urge them to give this project its full backing. We will carry out more vital preliminary work to bring this much-needed work a step closer.”
Matthew Smith, manager of the Highgate branch of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, said homes in Archway are currently less than half the price of those in parts of its smarter neighbours. “A reasonable four-bedroom Victorian house in Archway would cost around £700,000. It would be more like £1.2 million up in the station side of Highgate or in Kentish Town, if not more, and nearer £2 million in Highgate Village.”
The ugly gyratory system, and too many flats causing a bigger transient rental market rather than a settled population of families in family housing has turned Archway into a ‘bit of a dead area,’ says Smith.
Smith feels the proposals are too cosmetic to effect real change. However, he pointed out that parts of Archway are already improving. The Whitehall Park conservation area close to Highgate is beginning to attract more families, who are looking after the streets. It hasn’t happened fast, but it is starting to catch up with Highgate.”
Islington’s proposals for the area include £250,000 to be spent on feasibility studies for the removal of the gyratory system, £500,000 for “public space improvements”, £400,000 to improve shop-fronts, and £50,000 to help set up a 200-seat community arts theatre.