London's Great Outdoors: Balham, Wandsworth

Programme: Outer London Fund

With £1.44m from the Mayor’s Outer London Fund, matched by £510,000 from Wandsworth Council, Balham is becoming a great place to shop, eat and relax. The area has seen much recent change.

This is reflected in its increasingly affluent residential population. Thankfully the area has kept its multicultural community and identity. Balham town centre is well used by local residents and has started to become a destination in its own right. However, some parts of the public streetscape need improving.

The fund will pay for better lighting, landscaping and seating, and better public space at Bedford Hill Place. Nearby, Hildreth Street is becoming a lively pedestrian space with a market and café scene.

Architects Metropolitan Workshop has developed a number of improvements for Balham town centre. Hildreth Street has been cleared of unnecessary street clutter to become a thriving place full of cafes, restaurants and market stalls.

The street has also been given a new, high quality surface and mounted lighting, and can now host events like the food festival. At Bedford Hill Place, a tired and bedraggled corner of a supermarket car park has become a stylish public space.

It uses handcrafted green tiles by artist Todd Hanson that recall Balham’s Edwardian and Art Deco past. A large blank wall dominating the view down the high street has been decorated with a bold mural also based on Edwardian architecture.

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