Alfred Place Gardens – from pavement to park
Camden is celebrating the opening of a new park providing an oasis of calm in the hub of the West End.
Formerly just a quiet underused road next to the bustling Tottenham Court Road, Alfred Place has now been transformed into Camden’s newest park as part of 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.
Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden said:
“The opening of a totally new park in the midst of a bustling city centre is a cause for celebration.
“This is the first new park for this part of the borough in a quarter of a century, and we’ve achieved it here by rethinking the city and innovatively transforming road space into high quality green space.
“Through the West End Project, we are investing in new and improved green spaces, to support the health and wellbeing of local communities with places to meet, relax and play, the need for which has been starkly highlighted during the pandemic, as well as improving air quality, reducing flooding and supporting biodiversity.
"Local residents have long requested more public open space in the area and Alfred Place Gardens helps deliver this."
To celebrate the opening of the park the Mayor of Camden, Councillor Sabrina Frances invited children and parents from her supported charity Gingerbread, to be the first to try out the new play equipment while enjoying refreshments from local business Lever & Bloom Coffee.
Over the summer there will be tours for local residents and businesses, led by Council officers, the park’s designers LDA and idverde who constructed the park for a behind the scenes look at how the project team transformed tarmac to trees.
Tim South, project lead from LDA Design, said:
“It has been a privilege to turn this unremarkable West End street into an antidote to city life – a distinctive, nature-rich community space for local residents, workers, shoppers and visitors to enjoy and a welcome refuge from the bustle of Tottenham Court Road.
“We’re thrilled with the results and can’t wait to see people using it as a family play space, or to exercise, or to meet friends or to just take a moment. Everyone’s going to love it as the seasons change. We need more spaces like Alfred Place Gardens across our cities – and fast!”
Idverde, who undertook the work at Alfred Place, said:
“We are delighted to have played an integral part of the delivery of the entirely new Alfred Place Gardens which has changed this underused road into a beautiful park sitting peacefully below the statuesque Plane trees.
“The introduction of long stretches of furniture creates a wide range of places to sit and relax. Visitors can enjoy the sloping areas of planting filled with diverse plants which are currently showcasing long swathes of spring bulbs.
“The plants are a brand-new home for biodiversity alongside a lawn and play equipment for children, creating a brand-new destination for people to enjoy while shopping on the bustling Tottenham Court Road or taking a lunch break from the nearby offices.
“The completion of the project represents the dedication and hard work by our project team and supply chain to deliver the works despite pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic. We look forward to handing this transformed oasis over the local residents, business and visitors to enjoy.”
Councillor Harrison, continued:
“Research has shown that parks and green spaces directly benefit the health of a community. Just two hours contact with natural environments, such as parks, a week can reduce the risk of poor health by 45%.
“Added to this, a one hectare increase in greenspace within 300m of your residence is associated with an 8% increase in life satisfaction, 7% increase in worth and 5% in happiness.
“This is combined with the financial benefits which have shown a return on our investment of £11.58 for every £1 spent on Camden’s green spaces.”
Camden’s newest park is a great place to relax, especially for returning office workers to take a lunch break or just to explore. Visitors will be able to enjoy the new gardens through the seasons, including flowering spring bulbs currently emerging along the winding path or visit with children to enjoy the play space.
Other green space investment delivered through the West End Project, include the rejuvenated Whitfield Gardens and the pocket parks at Capper Street and Bedford Avenue, where road junctions have been turned into small green spaces for people to enjoy. Trees are being added across the area with more to come including additional pocket parks and a brand-new public space at Princes Circus.
Victoria Benson, CEO of Gingerbread, the national charity for single parents, said:
“It is brilliant to see this new park open for everyone to enjoy. Single parents are often both time and cash-poor so the creation of parks like this gives single parent families accessible space to play and be active together.”
NRP, NEC project manager and supervisor said:
“Having been involved with the West End Project for a number of years, it’s great to see the culmination of the team’s efforts at the opening of Alfred Place and we are really looking forward to the benefits that it will bring to the wider community.
“It has been a challenging yet rewarding project and as the Project Managers we are proud to have been part of delivering this high-end park in such a central London location.
“The park has completely transformed Alfred Place into a welcoming place for everyone to enjoy and it’s a step towards a cleaner, greener and healthier London which we hope will be a leading example for further spaces.”