Leake Street Pocket Park
Steven Wong from PWLC Projects oversaw this project, developing it on behalf of Lambeth with key partners We Are Waterloo (Business Improvement District) and Network Rail.
The Leake Street Pocket Park was officially opened on Tuesday 20th October and funded through section 106 planning contributions in the area totalling £50,000 with match funding of a further £40,000 from the Greater London Authority. In kind support was provided by We Are Waterloo throughout the life of the project by assisting with project development and consultation.
The park is located at the entrance to one of the most iconic graffiti hotspots in London where the Leake Street tunnel walls are decorated in graffiti and have seen some of London’s best ply their trade in this graffiti tolerant space. The entranceway was previously used as a dumping ground for rubbish and disused market stalls as well as being a space that encouraged anti-social activity such as drug use and rough sleeping.
Local architect (uncommon) were commissioned to re-design the space, aiming to provide a more inviting area for people to visit whilst also giving visitors and the local community an area of green space along Lower Marsh to enjoy. It is intended that residents, visitors and workers will be able to use the space to sit, socialise and eat in a safe place amongst a range of shrubs, perennials, grasses, climbers and trees planted in approximately 17 new planters covering about 40 square meters.
Attention to the planting aspect of the project has really emphasised the desire to attract wildlife into the area it is hoped that insects and birds will start to populate the pocket park and create an urban oasis for flora and fauna. Further to this, some of the planters have been designed to absorb water run off as sustainable urban drainage systems.
Finally, it simply would not have been possible to build the pocket park if it were not for the willingness of We Are Waterloo and co-operation of Network Rail. As the Leake Street entranceway is Network Rail land, a decision was made very early on in the process to negotiate a lease agreement between the two parties that would see We Are Waterloo occupying the space with market pitches (via Lower Marsh Market) and carrying out events, with most of the revenue from these activities contributing towards maintenance of the park and other community improvements.
Recently, we have learnt that Mr Shen passed away in August 2016. As a committed member of the community and an instrumental part of making the Pocket Park a success we are saddened by this news and send our heartfelt condolences to his family.