Potter's Fields Close
Work started in late spring on the £3m refurbishment of the battered riverside park at Potter's Fields, Southwark, that links Tooley Street with the Thames, and the Mayor of London's 'City Hall' with Tower Bridge. While this takes place the area will be closed to the public.
The park is in front of a proposed development by Berkeley Homes of eight cylindrical towers, vigourously opposed by local interests but granted planning permission by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott on appeal.
Consultation about the park revealed a consensus that the large areas of grass should be retained and enhanced. The new lawn will be irrigated and reinforced to help maintain it through periods of heavy use. A twenty-metre seat inlaid with English Delftware patterns will draw on the site's historic links with the pottery industry. Closer to Tooley Street, a tranquil area will be established with seasonal herbaceous planting by Piet Oudolf to provide year-round interest. This section of the park was particularly important to local residents looking for a private contemplative space.
Blossom Square is the name given to a new riverside space planted with blossoming cherry trees and a new eating area with outdoor seating. The Bowl is a sunken lawn area sheltered by trees, ideal for parents with young children and will include additional public conveniences for the area. A new cast-iron decorative screen, also reflecting the park's pottery history will be installed on the Tooley Street side.
The aim is to complete that the principal elements of the park by December 2006. To allow the optimum planting season for the gardens and a bedding-in period for the lawns to establish themselves, the park will reopen at Easter 2007.
The new park has been designed by Gross Max landscape architects and will be funded and managed by the Pool of London Partnership, More London and Southwark Council.
On completion of the works, the management of the park will transfer from Southwark Council to the Potter's Fields Park Management Trust on a 25-year lease. The Trust is a new not-for-profit organisation comprising of representatives from the local community, Southwark Council, PLP, More London and the Greater London Authority.
"The lease enables the Trust to ring-fence funds generated through the park to provide a long-term, high-quality and dedicated maintenance and management service that such a unique local and simultaneously international location demands," said Alan Chapman, Chair of the Tower Bridge and Tooley Street Community Association.