Mayor on track to deliver 100 ‘pocket parks’

11 November 2013

From a rooftop orchard to a tropical retreat, work is now underway on 60 of the Mayor Boris Johnson’s ‘pocket parks’ – transforming underused urban spaces across the city into mini oases for Londoners to enjoy.

Thanks to £2m of funding from the Mayor, 100 ‘pocket parks’, which are around the size of a tennis court, are set to spring up in London’s underused small spaces by 2015, improving local neighbourhoods and making the capital an even better places to live and work.

Today, the Mayor announced funding for 33 new projects across 17 London boroughs. In Haringey, thanks to £30,000 from the Mayor, a small piece of rundown land will become the vibrant ‘West Green Road Tropical Park’, a lush oasis filled with unusual tropical plants. In Stratford a car park rooftop will be transformed into a fruit orchard, meeting place and event space for the local community with £25,000 from City Hall. It will also act as a nursery for trees to be planted elsewhere in the borough.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “It’s fantastic to see my ‘pocket parks’ really taking root across the capital and creating something special out of London’s forgotten pint-sized plots of land. These small urban havens make this city an even better place to live, work and invest – the best big city on earth.”

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales said "This venture will become a vibrant, exciting and fun visitor attraction which will help draw people to Stratford from across the capital. London is moving eastwards and Stratford offers an investment opportunity unmatched in Europe. Nowhere else is seeing the speed and scale of its transformation. Stratford is already a major transport node with fast rail, tube and DLR connections to the City, West End and Canary Wharf and new transport projects are providing further improved access to central London, the rest of the UK and Europe, positioning Newham as a world-leading residential, business, and tourism destination."

Councillor John Bevan, cabinet member for environment at Haringey Borough Council, said: “Creating a cleaner, greener West Green Road to support businesses and boost trade is an important part of our ambitious plans for Tottenham. This funding will help us create an urban oasis that will give shoppers the chance to take a breather in a flourishing green corner of Tottenham.”

The first ‘pocket park’, the ‘Edible Bus Stop’, on Landor Road in Stockwell opened in May with £20,000 from City Hall. An empty piece of land behind a bus stop, created when a bomb dropped during the Second World War, has been transformed into a thriving community garden growing vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, and providing an attractive meeting point for local people. All 100 ‘pocket parks’ are due to be delivered by March 2015. A further funding round targeting community groups will open in January 2014.

Notes to editors

The Mayor has announced funding for 33 new ‘pocket parks’ across 17 London boroughs.

- Projects in Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Havering, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, and Westminster have received a total of around £800,000 in the second round of funding for the 'pocket parks' project.

- 13 of these are being delivered by community groups supported by Groundwork, on behalf of the Mayor, building on the work of Groundwork’s Transform initiative which began as a key part of the London 2012 Changing Places programme and has already forged close links with local partners, most of them small community groups.

- Each project is required to match the funding from City Hall. To help community groups raise the required match funding, a 'pocket park' cluster has been created on crowd funding platform Spacehive. For more information please visit: http://spacehive.com/initiatives/London - For more information visit: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/environment/greening-london/improving-londons-parks-green-spaces/pocket-parks

- In March the Mayor announced funding for the first 27 ‘pocket parks’ across 17 London boroughs - Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark received an overall total of £834,500 in the first round of funding. Round one opened in November 2012 and closed in January 2013.

- Trees and plants provide a range of benefits including helping to improve local air quality and reduce flood risk, providing shade and offering a haven for wildlife.

- ‘Pocket parks’ are part of the Mayor’s London Great Outdoors programme to transform the public places we live in – high streets, town centres, parks, rivers and pathways – into vibrant, loved places within our city. Since the programme began in 2009, over £250m has been invested in over 78 projects, divided into two key areas – better green and water spaces and better streets. For further information please go to: www.london.gov.uk/greatoutdoors  

- 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 london.gov.uk/teamlondon/register-for-updates