The green space project: London's new homes by rivers, wetlands and parks

Many more Londoners will have the chance to live by rivers, wetlands and parks as Mayor Boris Johnson approves seven major green space projects and nature is the focus of new housing developments.
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Weaving green space into the fabric of the city in imaginative ways is high on the agenda of future planners. Garden Bridge is part of this grand plan, which is followed this week by the announcement of funding for seven major green space projects approved by Mayor Boris Johnson.

The aim is to transform areas covering the length and breadth of the capital. These include restoring a marsh in Harrow, creating wetlands in Enfield, upgrading Wandle Park in Croydon and the Duke of Northumberland’s River waterfront between Twickenham in west London and Old Isleworth.

City planners, keen to put nature and creative landscaping at the heart of new housing projects, are ensuring  that there is “design-in” recreational green space.


The Thames at Right Angles
This is happening at Fulham Riverside, a redevelopment of former Kops Brewery, where apartment blocks are set at right angles to the Thames and between which are lavishly  landscaped gardens. 

In addition, the open area facing the river has a central communal podium garden with a three-metre waterfall feature and provision for a croquet lawn, table tennis tables and garden chess board. Prices from £785,000. Call Barratt on 0844 811 4334.

New London Landscape, a forum for some of the capital’s best and brightest designers, architects and eco-campaigners, is showcasing new ideas such as Barge Walk, a linear park on a series of barges anchored at West India Docks, near Canary Wharf. 

Street Orchard is another shortlisted idea — to plant fruit trees at redesigned bus stops and shelters with sloping sedum roofs all over London. Green infrastructure projects include unlocking inaccessible transport corridors and creating parks and platforms for pedestrians and cyclists above and alongside railway tracks and sidings.

“All kinds of amazing ideas are  possible,” according to New London  Landscape. “Because of global warming and population growth, we need city-wide strategies — a dynamic and integrated approach to our limited  land resource.”

Floating Gardens in Docklands
Among the exciting range of new watery spaces proposed are floating gardens in Docklands, a linear lido along Regent’s Canal, between Little Venice and Limehouse, and a reinstated River Fleet channel as a new low-line park. The subterranean river, below Fleet Street in the City, has been covered since 1769. It would be opened up below street level, with pedestrian footpaths either side.

There is also a proposal to reinstate the Grand Surrey Canal, concreted over in 1971. This lost waterway ran through Bermondsey, an area recently designated an “opportunity zone” by the Mayor and now earmarked for major housing schemes. A new Overground station will be built at Surrey Canal Road, linked to an £850 million project that includes 2,400 new homes and a sporting village on 30 derelict acres.

The future is bright: Nine Elms and the creation of a new neighbourhood between Vauxhall Bridge and Battersea Power Station

Linear Park at Nine Elms
New York’s much-praised Highline project, a mile-long aerial greenway on an elevated section of disused railway, is the inspiration for a linear park at Nine Elms, one of London’s biggest regeneration zones, where up to 20,000 homes are in the pipeline.

The park will be the pedestrian spine of this new district between Vauxhall Bridge and Battersea Power Station, where a new phase of apartments has been unveiled. Studios are from £495,000; one-bedroom flats from £59,000, two-bedroom flats from £1.2 million. Call 020 7501 0688.

Lost River Park at Earls Court
A five-acre “lost river park” is being re-established at redeveloped Earls Court exhibition centre. This new neighbourhood will have up to 7,500 homes, while 23 acres are being added to the public realm by reclaiming under-utilised land at the complex. Penthouses are priced from £1,575,000. Cheaper flats are coming later. Call 020 7381 9800. 

The Duke of Northumberland’s River is a 500-year-old waterway linking the River Crane in Twickenham and the Thames in Old Isleworth. Residents at Brewery Wharf will benefit from a new green corridor running alongside the 4km waterway. This development of 82 apartments and 28 houses creates a hub, having a 320-seat arts venue and community building next to a piazza with restaurants and bars. Warehouse-style architecture picks up on the site’s brewery origins. Apartments cost from £550,000. Call St James on 020 3002 9457.

Wetlands in Walthamstow
The Wetland to Wetland Greenway running from Hackney to Walthamstow is another well-received initiative. Two giant reservoirs, three miles apart, are being transformed into wildlife reserves and opened up to the public. A new green route through local parks will link the reservoirs.

Woodberry Down, a new neighbourhood where 4,600 homes are being built, faces the Hackney reservoir. Flats in Skyline, a 30-storey tower with City views, cost from £472,500. Call Berkeley Homes on 020 8985 9918.

From £257,000: New South Quarter, a development that borders the River Wandle. Call 0844 811 4334.

Unveiling Wandsworth’s Clean Wandle
The River Wandle, which runs through Wandsworth borough, is also the focus of green thinking. It used to be one of the most polluted rivers in England, with 68 water wheels powering tobacco, textile and brewing factories along its nine-mile route from Surrey to the River Thames. But there has been a dramatic clean-up in recent years, with fish species flourishing again and parks and nature reserves created along its banks.

At Wandsworth town centre, the river will be opened up to the high street  and onwards to the Thames Path. This has been made possible by the redevelopment of a former eight-acre brewery complex, now called The Ram Quarter

This project is bringing 661 new homes and will have a new boulevard with shops, bars and restaurants cutting through the site alongside the River Wandle. About half the area will be open public space, with courtyard gardens and a market square. Prices from £450,000. Call 0800 0886 777. 

New South Quarter off Purley Way also borders the River Wandle, and is very close to Croyden town centre. This scheme is being built on the site of a former gas works, and is  part of the regeneration involves upgrading adjacent Wandle Park. Prices from £257,000 to £499,000. Call 0844 811 4334.

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