A graphic showing people enjoying their streets on foot, bike, wheelchair, walking frame, and white cane. Text in the graphic reads 'Islington Together for a greener future' and 'Islington for a more equal future'

Clerkenwell Greener: Transformative improvement plans for historic Green revealed

Islington Council can today announce plans for major, transformative improvements to Clerkenwell Green - one of the borough’s most historic, popular spaces – as part of its mission to create a cleaner, greener, healthier borough.  

As well as boosting biodiversity and improving air quality, the council’s proposals would make the Green a more attractive space for the many people that use it every day. The improvements would also make the area quieter and safer for local people to walk or cycle, and for buggy and wheelchair-users to get about.  

Clerkenwell Green is one of London’s oldest public spaces, dating back to the 12th century, and is surrounded by some of Islington’s most attractive and interesting buildings.      

Back in 2017, the council consulted local people on proposals to improve the Green by creating a more pleasant and greener local environment. These proposals received overwhelming support at the time, with 82% of the 433 respondents giving positive feedback. The council is now taking forward the following changes:  

  • Planting seven trees and introducing low-level paving on the Green.  
  • Introducing new paved areas, and replacing some existing paving with new, more attractive Yorkstone paving and granite setts.  
  • Making it easier to walk, cycle, and use buggies and wheelchairs by closing the junction of Clerkenwell Road and Clerkenwell Green to motor vehicles.  
  • Removing 43 parking spaces and one motorcycle stand. 
  • Ensuring that more people can enjoy the historic space by introducing four new benches.  

These improvements would bring an additional 1,700 metres of public space, representing a 68% increase in public space and a 51% fall in road space. Work on bringing this exciting vision to life is planned to start in February 2023 - subject to consultation with local people – and is expected to be completed by the summer. 

The major improvement plans would support the Clerkenwell Green people-friendly streets neighbourhood, which was introduced as an 18-month trial in September 2020. As revealed last March, the neighbourhood will remain in place permanently, following positive monitoring data and resident feedback. The council is now proposing that a Blue Badge exemption that was introduced on a trial basis to make it easier for disabled people to travel in the neighbourhood is also made permanent.   

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality, and Transport, said: “Clerkenwell Green is one of the borough’s most historic public spaces, and the improvements that we’re proposing will help make it a more attractive space for the many people that use it every day, as well as boosting air quality and biodiversity.  

“We’re on a mission to make Islington a cleaner, greener, healthier place for everyone, and maximising the potential of public spaces, including Clerkenwell Green, is at the heart of this.  

“Alongside the Clerkenwell Green people-friendly streets neighbourhood, the changes would also make it easier and safer for local people to walk, cycle, and use buggies and wheelchairs.”     

The council is contacting local people and businesses to inform them of the plans, and further information can be found on the council’s website.      

Local people are able to have their say on the major improvement plans for the Green and the decision to make Blue Badge exemptions in the Clerkenwell Green people-friendly streets neighbourhood permanent before Friday, 27 January. Feedback can be sent by email to publicrealm@islington.gov.uk, or by post to Public Realm, 1 Cottage Road, London, N7 8TP. 

Notes to editors

Clerkenwell Green takes its name from the Clerks' Well, which is located to the west of the Green. It has a strong connection with radicalism, and was the scene of Chartist demonstrations in the 19th century. In 1902, the future Russian revolutionary Lenin moved publication of the Communist newspaper Iskra to 37a Clerkenwell Green, which now houses the Marx Memorial Library.     

The Green also famously features in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist as the place where young Oliver is first coerced into becoming a pickpocket. The Green is also home to the former Middlesex Sessions House.     

Contact information

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please view the contact information on our website or call 020 7527 2000.