Highbury Fields in line for new cafe with fully accessible toilets under plans submitted by council

This is what the new cafe would look like. Image: Levitate

A new cafe with fully accessible toilets could be on the cards for Highbury Fields if designs submitted to planners are approved.

The proposals include knocking down the Oasis cafe, park keeper’s bungalow, and a bandstand that was the home to the stay-and-play One O’Clock Club.

The cafe would be replaced by a new one with inside and outside seating and public toilets.

The council unveiled its plans, estimated to cost £850,000, last year and has just formally submitted them to the planning department.

Earlier this year, the Town Hall asked architects Levitate to add a Changing Places toilet to the new cafe to improve accessibility. It aims to provide five Changing Places toilets across Islington.

Designers spoke to organisations including Muscular Dystropy UK and the Highbury Fields Association and said they won their support for “the considerable public benefit and accessibility this adds”.

The proposed toilets were welcomed by Eammon O’Tierney, who tweeted: “For disabled people like me, the lack of provision of public facilities across Islington is a constant problem.”

The historic bandstand would be replaced with a wildlife garden and a shelter for teaching.

The council also plans to return a fenced-off area around the vacant park keeper’s home to public space.

Highbury Fields was bought in 1885 to preserve the open space – Islington’s largest – from the pressures of Victorian housing development.

Families who used the One O’Clock Club campaigned for it to stay at the old bandstand but Islington Council said the building was not in good condition.

In 2020, it confirmed the bandstand would come down and the One O’ Clock Club would need to move.

The planning application has just been submitted and is likely to be considered later this year.