Mayor Boris Johnson has come up with a plan to make London both greener and friendlier by creating 100 tennis court-sized “pocket parks.”
City Hall has agreed to put £2 million into the first 30 schemes across the capital, including a miniature inner-city “hop farm”, a community herb garden and an green amphitheatre.
In Stockwell a £30,000 “edible park” will be created that will include harvest hops for the Brixton Beer Co-operative. Apple trees bred specifically to thrive in London’s climate will also be planted; Barking will have a park with fruit trees, shrubs and a herb garden and will be landscaped to include small grassy mounds for people to sit on.
Meanwhile, in Shepherds Bush, £40,000 will help transform a neglected space into a mini amphitheatre for shows and picnics.
The concept of pocket parks comes from New York, where tiny urban oases have been created between skyscrapers since the 1960s – the award-winning Paley Park in Manhattan is probably the best known example.
It is hoped that all the pocket parks will be open within two years. The stated aim to make London “greener, friendlier and more resilient by reinventing forgotten nooks and crannies.”
Barnet Council has been granted funds to transform a run-down playground in Cricklewood into a new park with trees, shrubs, seats and paths. There will also be a new children’s play area, picnic tables and a community allotment.
Other areas which will be receiving funding to create mini parks include Blackheath and Sydenham and the new green spaces could mean excellent news for local home owners. A recent study by the University of East Anglia suggested that being close to green space increased local house prices by between one and 30 per cent, depending on its proximity, quality and visibility. Homes within half a mile of a park can benefit from this uplift.