Mayor celebrates delivery of 100 pocket parks across London

12 August 2015

A green scheme launched by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to create 100 new pocket parks in the capital has been so successful there are plans to roll it out across the country.

The Mayor has today confirmed he has delivered his manifesto pledge to create 100 rejuvenated spaces as part of his pocket parks programme in 26 London boroughs.

From a rain garden in Vauxhall to a dinosaur playground in Hornsey and edible gardens along a south London bus route, more than 25 hectares of community land across the capital have been converted into new enhanced green areas, thanks to £2million of funding from the Mayor. This was match-funded from the Boroughs, as well as grants from businesses and trusts.

The programme to transform underused urban spaces across the city into mini oases for Londoners to enjoy has been a roaring success and proposals to develop it nationwide are being considered by the government.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “From what started as a green shoot in 2012, dozens of glorious spaces have sprouted up across almost every corner of the capital, offering an oasis of calm from the hustle and bustle of city life.

“They may have been pocket-sized pieces of previously forgotten land, but they pack a real punch in what they now offer local people, thousands of whom have given up their time to make the capital greener and more resilient. It really underlines London’s status as one of the greenest world cities.”

To celebrate the success of the programme, there is a free exhibition at City Hall, which runs to 28 August and shares the stories and experiences of 11 people who helped create pocket park projects across London.

Bridget and Menna Hyrd, who both helped recreate Nunhead Green in Southwark which included a popular children’s play area, said: “This Pocket Park has made the place look so much nicer and made people feel much happier about where they live. It’s a place to bump into families; they use it as a meeting place. We just didn’t have that before.

“It’s given Nunhead a bit of a centre, a bit of a heart.”

A small area in Churchward House, Lambeth, received funding to install planters to compliment a nearby area planted with street trees, which has dramatically changed an area previously just a walkway between houses.

Jenny Jefferies, of Churchward House in Lambeth who helped on the project, said: “Gardens like these give everyone such a lift and make them feel good. I think there is a basic need to be among green things, people living in cities have fewer opportunities to be among plants, trees and flowers.

“By making more gardens and planted trees, we are increasing everyone’s day to day contact with nature. It is relaxing and important to be in the open air in a garden or park, and it is certainly good for our mental wellbeing.”

Pocket parks are part of the Mayor’s wider plans to maintain London’s status as one of the greenest and leafiest cities. He has also delivered 20,000 Street Trees along London’s most congested roads and funds tree and woodland projects via the Community Grant Scheme, which is engaging communities and volunteers across London. The Mayor leads the RE:LEAF partnership of organisations and through this partnership has delivered a range of projects including planting 10,000 trees in Ealing last December.

Editor’s notes:

For a comprehensive overview of the 100 pocket park projects via an interactive map, visit https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/environment/greening-london/improvi...

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.

This has included the transformation of Burgess Park, the restoration of rivers in parks in barking, Croydon and Tottenham and the planting of 20,000 street trees across the city.

A new campaign has been launched to promote London Great Outdoors, which gives Londoners the opportunity to go online and find out more improvements to more than 200 public spaces. These areas have been plotted on a new, easy to use interactive map at www.london.gov.uk/outdoors

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.