This is a linear park that runs alongside a permissive right of way created as part of the Neo Bankside housing development, and is open to the public for 12 hours a day.

Neo Bankside is the modern housing development that’s been in the news after the residents took legal action to stop people in the Tate Modern looking at them and having secured their privacy, it’s less well known that there’s a public right of way at the ground floor that lets you walk right through the estate.

And the path runs right through the middle of their private garden.

As befits an estate lived in by the super-rich, it’s a very well-maintained pocket park created by the landscape designers, Gillespies, although unsurprisingly, the best bits are just past the signs saying you’re entering the private parts for residents only.

Along the eastern side is a raised bank of earth, known as a berm, which not only gives the garden a bit more character, it also serves to hide the private areas behind it where residents can relax on chairs without the hoi polio, or worse, people visiting the Tate Modern from looking at them.

Running along one side of the path is a line of pristine white stones, described as a moat, and the other is lined with a raised bank of fine mosses and the garden’s public art installation — “A family in residence”, by Ivan Murray.

The soft planting has been inspired by native woodlands along with linear groves of Alder and Birch trees and banks of native flowers. It may help to appreciate the garden a bit more when you learn it has been built above the car park, which required a lot of reinforcement and waterproofing to be laid down before the garden could be built on top.

What’s nice about the pocket park is the combination of the concrete architecture of the buildings above with the rich greens of the plants around the base.

You can find the pocket park and passage running north/south through the Neo Bankside development, look for the partially open glass doors that have a small sign saying it’s open to the public. As part of the planning consent, other than when building work is being carried out, the path and public part of the garden has to be open to the public from 8am to 8pm each day.


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  1. Chris Rogers says:

    It can’t be a “permissive right of way”, and it’s not a “public right of way” either I’m afraid. It’s either a permissive path (which I assume it is) or a right of way.

    • Dave says:

      ^^^^ Correct.

      Also, if you loiter for more than a moment, the Neo staff will come politely tell you to move on, emphasising the limited nature of the permission.

  2. Derek Nicholls says:

    I chanced upon this last year searching for a route to Southwark Tube Station – it’s all the more pleasant for being unexpected in this locality However rich the owners, they can’t be blamed for protecting an amenity they’ve paid for and agreed to share – whatever kind of right-of-way it is.

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