This is a new linear pocket park in central London that was until a few months ago an unremarkable road used mainly for parking and deliveries. The road runs parallel to Tottenham Court Road between the Building Centre and the Eisenhower Centre, and what had been a rather ordinary back road is now a bright pocket park.
About half the width of the road has been taken over by a series of planted zones, ranging from mini lawns to play areas to flower beds. Sweeping around them are loads of benches to sit on. The park’s designers LDA, designed the new park around a short line of older trees that were already on the site so there’s already loads of shade in the new park.
The pale stones used for the edging around the planting zones have soft sweeping curves that rise up and down in waves that give the whole space a lot more interest than if it had simply been flat lawns with benches.
The other half of the width of the street is still accessible for road vehicles for deliveries, but as the road has been clad in the same paving stones as the pavement, the effect is mainly a pedestrian path that’s shared with vehicles on occasion. The use of lighter coloured paving slabs also brightens the area, removing the corridor of black tarmac that dominated the area before, a bold corridor for vehicles that’s now a shared space for everyone.
It’s a new park, so it’ll take time for the bedding plants to settle in, but the lawns are already settled, and the park benches are clearly being used. On my visit, the northern end, with a lot more seating was busy and well used, which it never has been before.
There used to be a long row of cycle hire stands here, but to accommodate the new pocket park, the stands were moved to the end of the road, just outside the Building Centre.
Camden Council says that their West End Project, of which this park is part, is the biggest council-led public realm and transport scheme the borough has ever seen. The West End Project is addressing traffic congestion, road safety, poor air quality and limited access to open space and nature in this area.