London SE1 website team

Brightening up White’s Grounds

A community consultation programme to transform a run-down railway arch culminated in a day of fun in the arch itself.

White's  Grounds

White's Grounds was closed to all traffic on Saturday 12 March enabling local children, youth and parents to enjoy a day of football, cycle training, DJ-ing, dancing, and, perhaps most importantly, working with the architects to design a future play space.

The event concluded a series of workshops in six different local schools and colleges, public meetings, and questionnaires, all of which point to a unanimous vote for the road to be converted into a play space.

Analysing the results, Ia Hjarre from DIVE architects commented: "We were amazed at the energy and creativity local kids have for this project. The obvious preference is for a ball / skate facility, and we will now work with their design ideas, and the comments of the local parental population to design a space which will be popular without opportunity for abuse."

White's  Grounds

Workshops in the schools enabled each young ‘consultant' to produce his/her own design for the space, and each class produced a model of the future arch.

Southwark Council, who commissioned the scheme on behalf of funders the Pool of London Partnership (PLP) and More London were impressed by the support for the project. Council leader Nick Stanton commented: "Holding a consultation event in a railway arch was very innovative, and created both an excellent turn-out and high levels of support from the local community for a play space scheme."

The project has received strong support from a number of existing local youth groups, including Downside Fisher Youth Club, Kick Start, and Charterhouse-in-Southwark, all of whom helped organise the main consultation event. The designers will now work quickly to transform ideas into a deliverable project. Subject to funding and planning approval, the team hope to start building the new play space at the end of this year.

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