New green and public spaces designs confirmed for West End Project
Following extensive public engagement and valuable input from the community, Camden Council has now confirmed the final designs for three new and improved green spaces in the heart of London: Princes Circus in Holborn, and Alfred Place and Whitfield Gardens off Tottenham Court Road.
These new and renewed public spaces form part of the West End Project, the biggest council-led transport scheme the borough has ever seen. The West End Project will address traffic congestion, road safety, poor air quality and the fact that this area has previously had less than the Camden average of public open space.
“An integral part of the West End Project is to green the area by creating a totally new park in Alfred Place, the first for this part of the borough in a quarter of a century, innovatively turning road space into green space.
“We are also transforming Princes Circus in Holborn and rejuvenating Whitfield Gardens close to Goodge Street tube, both of which can be much improved.”
During the engagement, which involved a combination of pop up events, evening sessions and email discussions, the council spoke to over 350 members of the community, helping it to ensure that the designs were both attractive and functional.
“We are very proud of the final designs, which highlight our commitment to making beautiful, safe and usable public spaces that everyone can enjoy safely.
“I believe that these will make a massive difference to residents, workers, shoppers and commuters both passing through and spending longer enjoying the spaces.
“We are very grateful to our local community, businesses and users who gave up their time to talk to us, and share their ideas on the plans which have helped to better shape these final designs.
“Our designs for these spaces have already been recognised for their quality. At this year’s New London Architecture Awards we won the award for Unbuilt Public Spaces. This recognises the very best in architecture, planning and development in the capital. We have also been named joint winner in the Future Place category at the Pineapple Awards sponsored by the Design Council which showcase the best urban developments from across the UK.
“Accompanying the new public spaces we have been planting a significant number of new trees across the project area to further enhance the street scene and environment.”
Princes Circus has been redesigned to improve the pedestrian route between Covent Garden and the British Museum. Distinctive woodland style planting with new places to sit and enjoy the area, will make the space inviting and provide places to stop and rest.
Feedback from the engagement helped address issues raised in relation to possible anti-social behaviour at this location. As a result the final designs include improved lighting and the removal of visual obstructions to reduce opportunities for this kind of behaviour.
Alfred Place will see a transformation of the road into a green space to provide an oasis of calm, complete with places for children to play and lawns to relax on.
The feedback included concerns of increased litter, that the park might not be easy to find and that the planting would just create a large area of grass. We amended the designs to ensure there were sufficient rubbish bins and signage and have highlighted that the planting scheme will be varied, creating a haven for wildlife and year round interest.
The design for Whitfield Garden will revive a much cherished local space. We will improve the square with planting that thrives in shady locations. The park will be made accessible, allowing people to cross between Tottenham Court Road and Whitfield Street / Tottenham Street.
Feedback received included queries about the lighting and possible anti-social behaviour. We have amended the designs to remove obstructions that separated the garden from the square to open up the space. We are also working with a specialist lighting designer to create a new lighting design aimed at providing a safe and welcoming area.