Mayor puts finishing touches to one of his 100 pocket parks in Hackney

07 August 2014

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, joined local volunteers to apply the finishing touches to one of his 100 ‘pocket parks’ today, 7th August, at a former car breaker’s yard in Hackney.


The new park is part of the Mayor’s £2m programme to enable local communities and volunteers to rejuvenate and transform small patches of uncultivated and overlooked land into lush green spaces for everyone to use and enjoy.


The National Trust’s Breaker’s Yard has received £40,000 from the Mayor and has been renovated with the help of the National Trust and hundreds of local volunteers after being designed by landscaper Daniel Lobb.


The former scrapheap site, next to the National Trust’s Tudor manor Sutton House, had been left unused and decaying for over a decade before its reincarnation as a flower filled park including an edible garden, art installations and tyre planters which nod to the site’s recent history.


The Breaker’s Yard will be among the first 20 ‘pocket parks’ to be completed and is expected to start welcoming families, local schools, and hosting community events next week.


By April 2015, the Mayor will have delivered 100 brand new ‘pocket parks’ across the capital.


The Mayor’s ‘pocket parks’, with more trees, plants, vegetable gardens and wildlife, are helping to make London an even greener city and a more pleasant place to live and work, with improved air quality and reduced flood risk.


They form part of a £6m commitment from the Mayor to increase green spaces and tree cover in London.


The Mayor is also helping to plant thousands of new trees a year, and investing in a wide range of programmes, in collaboration with local boroughs, developers and communities, to conserve green spaces, restore London’s waterways, and to better link green spaces with new paths and cycle ways across the capital.


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Breaking the mould of traditional parks and gardens, this former car breaker’s yard demonstrates how, with a little vision and creativity, a ‘pocket park’ can be created in some of the most unusual and challenging spaces. Here, and in all our ‘pocket parks’, committed local volunteers have rolled up their sleeves to create something truly unique for the whole community to enjoy. Whether here in Hackney, or at the other 99 sites across the capital, these small urban oases are helping to brighten up our city and make it an even better place to live, work and invest.”


A further  99 ‘pocket parks’ are springing up across the capital. Angel Community Garden in Edmonton was a disused industrial space and is now being transformed into a community garden for growing food, playing and working with the help of £45,000 from the Mayor.


In Hammersmith, £40,000 is helping to develop Cathnor Park into a local flood defence with improved irrigation, while improving the space for local residents.


A ‘green gym’ is being created on Bromley College Green with over £17,000 from City Hall.


And in Streatham, the Mayor has helped create The Mitcham Lane Baptist Church’s garden of discover with over £9,300 from the Mayor.


Christopher Cleeve, National Trust Project Manager, said: “With the generous backing of the Mayor of London’s Pocket Park fund the National Trust and thousands of local people have been able to create a new and playful outdoor space in the heart of east London where once there was dereliction.”


Carlo Laurenzi OBE, Chief Executive of London Wildlife Trust, said, “We are grateful for the Mayor’s support, which is enabling us to develop a number of pocket parks across London. Our planting of wild flowers and fruit trees, together with new paths and benches, can transform these sites into beautiful places where Londoners can relax and enjoy the benefits of nature, and wildlife, in the heart of the city.” 

Notes to editors

• Images are available upon request. Please contact [email protected] / 0207 983 4161

• The Breaker's Yard will open on August 12th. A flash mob of local performers will present the diversity of Hackney through dance outside Hackney Central tube station before guiding everyone to Sutton House. There, a local family who have volunteered at Sutton House will cut the ribbon to the new gates to the Breaker's Yard, where everyone will be joined by House of Fairy Tales and their art car. The garden will then be open.

• The Mayor’s Pocket Parks scheme has handed out grants of at least £5,000 to community groups and boroughs to create and rejuvenate tennis-court sized green spaces to be enjoyed by Londoners and visitors. • For information and a map showing the ‘pocket parks’ underway please visit: 

• Many of these projects involve community spirited volunteers. The Mayor’s Team London programme is seeking to build a volunteering legacy following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by encouraging Londoners to do something great for their city. To search for opportunities or to sign up to receive updates of new volunteering opportunities go to 

• The scheme forms part of the Mayor’s commitment to greening London by encouraging the planting of trees and the renovation and creation of green community space. For more information please visit: 

• The pocket parks programme is part of a wider £6 million green infrastructure initiative supported by the Mayor, which includes the Street Trees programme; Help a London Park, the Big Green Fund and RE:LEAF. London is already one of the greenest cities in the world and these schemes are encouraging more ‘green infrastructure’ for the capital. For more information please visit: 

• Under the Landfill Tax Regulations 1996, landfill operators like Biffa Group Ltd are liable for taxes on waste deposited in landfill sites. The Landfill Communities Fund allows them to donate a small percentage of their tax liability to projects working to improve communities living within the vicinity of landfill sites. To date, Biffa Award has awarded grants totalling more than £145 million to thousands of worthwhile projects. For more information, see

• Any waste that is discarded which cannot be reused, reprocessed or recycled may ultimately be disposed of in a landfill site. To encourage Landfill site Operators (LOs) to re-use, recycle, recover more value from waste and use more environmentally friendly methods of waste disposal, Landfill Tax is charged on each tonne of waste sent to landfill. LOs are able to redirect a small proportion of landfill tax liability (currently 5.1%) to support a wide range of community and environmental projects in the vicinity of their landfill sites through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF). The LCF is regulated by ENTRUST on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs, and the projects are delivered by enrolled Environmental bodies (EBs), RSWT is an EB. Since its inception in 1996, over £1 billion has been spent on more than 32,000 projects across the UK. For further information, please visit or see HMRC’s general guide to Landfill Tax. 

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