This week saw World Environment Day focus attention on one of the most pressing issues of our time. Preserving and enhancing the natural environment is a key consideration for anyone in urban planning – not least because of the proven health benefits that access to nature offers people.*
London is renowned worldwide for the quality of its green spaces, with 3,000 parks of varying sizes covering almost 18% of the capital – more space than is covered by roads and railways combined**. As part of the capital’s first new town centre in 50 years which we are developing here at Canada Water, we are determined to extend that tradition here. The 12 acres of new open spaces we are creating within the development will boost biodiversity while providing people in the area with room to relax, play and connect with the natural world.
CAPTION: A dipping pond will allow people to experience the Dock’s new wildlife habitat up close
Works are currently underway to restore the historic Canada Dock. We are working with the London Wildlife Trust to re-establish a wetland to provide a haven for birds and other wildlife. Work to raise the water level will help us establish reedbeds with colourful aquatic marginal plants such as irises and marsh marigolds. This will tie in with a wet woodland featuring willow and alder to form a mosaic of habitats that will bring ecological diversity back to the dock.
People will be able to get close to this restored wetland via a new 170m boardwalk, a dipping pond and steps down to the water’s edge. To watch a short video on the dock restoration, click here.
CAPTION: Illustrative view of the new Park
Last year we held two stages of consultation with local people to help shape and inform the plans we’ve submitted to Southwark Council for a new 3.5-acre Park next to the Printworks site.
The Park will encompass five different character areas: a woodland, a meadow, a dry garden planted with drought-resistant plants, an open lawn and a shaded area. The design was worked up in collaboration with local ecology groups that helped us develop a planting strategy to create attractive new wildlife habitats. People will be able to find out more about these habitats in a new Horticultural Learning Garden. The new Park will link into the 130+ acres of parks and woodlands in the local area through a series of green pedestrian routes and other public spaces running through the development.
The Paper Garden
In partnership with British Land since 2016, Global Generation has created The Paper Garden, a new garden and classroom at Canada Water where local people can experience and learn from nature through workshops on gardening, craft, cooking, social action, mental health and more. As part of their local education and community programme, Global Generation has supported local schools and community groups establish new pocket gardens in the local area.
Located at The Paper Yard, next to TEDI-London, The Paper Garden recently opened its doors to the public on the first and third Saturday every month.
Sustainability in the development
Creating green spaces such as these forms part of our sustainability commitments at Canada Water. Canada Water will be a net-zero carbon development, with 100% electric energy strategy and ambitious target reductions for embodied carbon in accordance with the British Land 2030 Sustainability Strategy. There will also be extensive planting of a variety of tree species; and at least 12 acres of new open spaces and places for everyone to enjoy.