A large public garden in central London, Grosvenor Square will reach its 300-year anniversary in 2025, and ahead of that, plans to substantially revamp the park’s layout has been given the green light to go ahead.

Concept design (c) Grosvenor

At the moment, it’s pretty bland as a space, with lots of lovely plane trees to cast shade, but most of the space is a uniform grass lawn with paths and seating.

The new plan, which was approved by Westminster Council will shrink the central lawn, and then surround the edges with a “woodland walk” running all the way around the park. The lawn will also be less uniform in layout and will be seeded with more wildflowers and plants, which is a return to how lawns used to be designed before the advent of modern pesticides and the mania for monoculture grasses.

Current layout (c) Grosvenor

Proposed layout (c) Grosvenor

According to Grosvenor, the redesign will also result in a 5-fold increase in the number of plant species and 24 more trees increasing habitats for wildlife.

The new design will be the fourth substantial redesign in the park’s 300-year history.

When first laid out in 1722 as a public space, in 1835, an act allowed the Square to be reserved solely for residents of the houses around the Square. That caused a problem in 1946, when a memorial to President Roosevelt was proposed for the park. That meant a new Act of Parliament that permitted the statue to be erected, and the park to be opened to everyone at last, managed by the Ministry of Works, whose powers were much later taken over by the Royal Parks in 2006.

Although the Square remains a public park, it’s now being managed by the Grosvenor estate. Now that their plans have been given planning approval, work is expected to start in 2024, and depending on how they finalise the plans, should last around two years.

The design was created for Grosvenor by architects Tonkin Liu in conjunction with horticulturalist Nigel Dunnett, ecologist Gary Grant and heritage expert Cordula Zeidler. Architects BDP have been newly appointed to take forward the next detailed designs for the project.

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2 comments
  1. Angela James says:

    I rather doubt it will be such a major improvement. It is a pity so many of these London squares are now undergoing such radical developments – even being built on

    • ianVisits says:

      London’s historic public squares can’t be built on – an act of Parliament prevents it.

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