Mayor urges Londoners to enjoy the Great Outdoors this summer
With the summer holidays underway, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is urging Londoners to get outside and explore public spaces in their neighbourhoods, using a brand new interactive map.
For the first time, Londoners can go online to find out more about what is happening near them. More than 200 public spaces have been plotted onto a brand new, easy to use interactive map at www.london.gov.uk/outdoors , many of which have undergone improvements as part of the Mayor’s London’s Great Outdoors initiative.
Through London’s Great Outdoors the Mayor has invested over £400 million in 242 projects since 2009. From parks to streets, and squares to wasteland, neglected corners of the capital have been revamped to create beautifully designed oases throughout the urban jungle.
Over 200 projects have been funded through various Mayoral programmes including the Outer London Fund, Mayor’s Regeneration Fund, Pocket Parks, REleaf and the Big Green Fund.
Transport for London, Crossrail and the London Legacy Development Corporation have also joined forces with London’s Great Outdoors to complete major projects, such as the creation of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the makeover of South Kensington’s Exhibition Road and restoring the original open boulevard of Piccadilly and Pall Mall.
Daniel Moylan, Chairman of the Mayor’s Design Advisory Group, said: “Over the course of the Great Outdoors scheme, the cityscape has transformed before our very eyes and I am delighted with the enhancements that have taken place. Whether they are spruced up high streets, new green spaces, town squares or infrastructure improvements, each project has given a makeover to a small area of London and made it a better place for everyone to use and enjoy. Londoners looking to fill their summer with outdoor adventures are now spoilt for choice with the new and renewed public spaces that have been created across the length and breadth of our great city.”
For South Londoners keen to explore, there is the Edible Bus Stop in Lambeth. This project, the first ever Pocket Park, saw a £20,000 Mayoral investment help to create a vibrant public garden. Thanks to community involvement, the Landor Road bus stop has been completely remodelled to include large planting beds made from discarded granite kerbstones, seating from reclaimed timber and edible plants such as herbs, strawberries and rainbow chard. Local people are encouraged to continue to take ownership of the space, volunteer to help maintain it and grow and harvest whatever they wish.
Across the river in Hackney, the Breakers Yard received £40,000 from the Mayor’s Pocket Parks to renovate a former yard contaminated with metals and hydrocarbons. With the help of the National Trust and hundreds of local volunteers, this derelict site with a history of trespassing, vandalism and theft was transformed into a flower filled park including art installations and tyre planters which nod to the site’s recent history.
East Londoners will soon be able visit the Walthamstow Wetlands, formerly one of the largest areas of inaccessible open space in London. The Mayor’s Big Green Fund, along with Waltham Forest Council and the London Wildlife Trust, is building paths from north to south through the site, improving the habitat for local wildlife and building a classroom so that the Wetlands can be used as an educational facility. Thames Water’s operational drinking water reservoirs will also be opened up to the public, in a development that will create the largest urban wetland nature reserve in London.
To the west, in Harrow, £2.2 million from the Outer London Fund matched by £1 million from Harrow Council has funded the transformation of Lowland Recreation Ground. The old recreation ground is now a park serving the diverse users of Harrow town centre. A play area built into grassy banks entertains young children, whilst new landscaped amphitheatre ‘The Arc House’ provides an outdoor theatre venue for all to enjoy.
There are hundreds more projects across London with something for everyone, whether looking to pass a lunch hour or spend the whole day. For more information on London’s Great Outdoors and to find out what is happening near you, visit: www.london.gov.uk/outdoors
Notes to editors
The Mayor’s Pocket Parks are introducing more trees, plants, vegetable gardens and wildlife to help make London an even greener city and a more pleasant place to live and work, with improved air quality and reduced flood risk.
The Mayor’s Outer London Fund is aimed specifically at helping London’s high streets to adapt and thrive. These initiatives are part of the Mayor’s £129 million investment in high streets that has already helped 56 high streets across London and attracted £56 million of match funding from public and private sector partners.
The Mayor’s Big Green Fund is providing grants of up to £175,000 towards environmental improvements including better walking and cycling links between green spaces and schemes that help to manage flood risk.