The east end of Derbyshire Street was a dead-end road with only one function – space for 12 car-parking bays. Despite the surrounding urban spaces being a hive of activity, the dead-end provided only an opportunity for anti-social behaviour and flytipping.

Landscape architect Luke Greysmith teamed up with John Ryan, CEO of the adjacent community and arts centre Oxford House, to explore the possibilities. This evolved into a partnership with local authority Tower Hamlets who had responsibility for the street and coincidentally had plans for a cycle lane through the space. 

Proposals recognised the street as a node for pedestrians and cyclists and outlined how the street could become a pocket park. A catalyst for change and funding success was the incorporation of sustainable urban drainage (SuDS). Funding for the project was secured from the Mayor of London’s pocket park initiative, match-funded by Tower Hamlets. 

The design incorporates the cycle lane, new seating, green-roof covered bike racks and bin stores, a rain-garden and a defined area for cafe tables and chairs. Bespoke planters that capture rainwater from the roof of Oxford House were designed and donated by Thames Water. This is now seen as an exemplar street-greening scheme and is the model for other projects across the borough.

Credits as supplied:

Landscape architect: Greysmith Associates 

Community Centre: Oxford House

Local Authority: London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Main Contractor: Riney

Green roof shelters: The Grass Roof Company

Attenuating planters: Thames Water Utilities