Bath’s Grant Associates helps bring much-loved South London public garden back to life

September 1, 2022

A garden designed by Bath-based international landscape architecture practice Grant Associates at the heart of a major urban renewal project has opened to the public.

The environmentally focused practice, which has worked on major schemes across the world, collaborated with London-based developer HUB and Bristol and London architects AHMM on the regeneration of Queen’s Gardens in Croydon. 

The town centre area in South London, which connects Croydon’s iconic Fairfield Halls concert venue and town hall for pedestrians and cyclists, now includes revitalised green spaces and a new play area sensitively integrated into its sunken gardens.

Grant Associates, HUB and AHMM began their design by acknowledging the importance of the gardens to the redevelopment of the area, once the site of a 1960s office block housing Croydon Council’s main departments but where around 500 new homes have recently been developed.

Some 1,500 local residents participated in consultations for the project, with a smaller community group taking part in a collaborative design exercise over several months to develop ideas for the planting palette and the play area. 

The newly revitalised gardens include a woodland-themed planting strategy to integrate with the site’s existing trees to provide a year-round nature-rich environment – with special attention paid to plants that encourage pollinators.

A bespoke timber play structure, inspired by the crocus flower – from which Croydon is said to take its name – was developed to respond to the collaborative design group’s vision for the gardens.

Grant Associates senior associate Lise Benningen said: “The Queen’s Gardens project has involved extensive community collaboration and is truly unique in terms of the input the group had into the final design.

“The design of the gardens has pivoted and evolved in line with invaluable direct conversations with the local community, and the end result is very special gardens that can now serve a wider range of local residents in Croydon.” 

Executive mayor of Croydon Jason Perry added: “The Queen’s Gardens is a much-valued park in the heart of our town centre, so it’s great to see it back open and re-imagined for residents and visitors to enjoy.

“Revitalising our public spaces – making them cleaner, greener and better connected – is at the heart of our wider regeneration plans, as is listening to our residents about how they want Croydon to grow and develop, and putting pride back into our town centre.

“This project is a great example of partnership work with local people to co-design a really exciting new public space, for residents of all ages to enjoy.”

Grant Associates is globally-recognised for its environmentally driven work such as the iconic Supertrees and Gardens by the Bay in Singapore and, more recently, this year’s Tower of London Superbloom project, part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

It has also worked on major projects in Australia and won the Best Show Garden at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

Photos by Miles Worsfold of Thirsty Photography and HUB Residential


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