Client: Lambeth Council
Project Status: Completed
Sector: Public Realm
The community first came together to guerrilla garden a neglected space on the Landor Road in March 2011. The first Edible Bus Stop germinated and grew from strength to strength throughout 2012 (read here, about the early days). At the beginning of 2013, after applications made by EBS founding members; Mak Gilchrist & Will Sandy – the site was awarded funding from Lambeth Councils Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme and The Mayor of London’s Pocket Park scheme. The re-designed garden, was the first Pocket Park to be realised and was opened on May 18th 2013 with a great turnout from locals and the press.
The layout utilises existing desire lines to allow easy routes through and the new benches are ideal to sit on and take in the garden, eat your lunch, or wait for a bus. Reclaimed granite kerbstones, salvaged from other redevelopment work across Lambeth, form the retaining walls of the raised beds.
Dedicated local residents grow an array of edibles and bee friendly plants on the site. Leafy greens, herbs and towering sunflowers all thrive in the garden, which is an urban orchard with over 5 fruit trees planted. Gardening afternoons, where all are welcome to join in, are held on the second Sunday of the month with tools provided.
Pocket Park Grand Opening - May 18th 2013
The Early Days
March 2011 - March 2013
Mak Gilchrist first struck upon the idea of creating the Edible Bus Stop (EBS), when she became aware of an outline planning proposal that would have seen the neighbourhood’s one green space built upon. In February 2011, with support of her neighbour Catherine Bithell, she flyposted four hundred leaflets informing locals of the plans.
Inspired by a one meter square vegetable patch existing on the site, the local community were encouraged to guerrilla garden the entire space. The planning application was eventually rejected and on March 20th 2011, the first digging day saw 40+ enthusiastic locals turn up. The EBS volunteers gardened the space, transforming it within a matter of months. Regular ‘dig days’ followed and saw volunteers bring seedlings, plants, elbow grease, tea and cake and in no time at all, a garden was growing alongside a newly found community spirit.
In the summer of 2011, we posted a general call for people to submit proposals to formalise and redesign the site. At two public consultation days the neighbourhood were able to state their preference and reactions to those shortlisted. All of the proposals received positive responses, with one by Simon Goldsmith coming out as favourite. Will Sandy, a professional landscape architect, who had been involved with the development of the EBS from the outset, drew up the masterplan. He made adjustments that took into account favourable comments received for the other designs. The result was presented to Lambeth Council and won their approval.
To this day, the garden thrives magnificently. The enthusiastic endeavours of the volunteers efforts set a fine example of community empowerment in action.
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