Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

London Launches a Showpiece Community Park

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

London Launches a Showpiece Community Park

Article excerpt

Byline: says David Spittles

[bar] NE of the largest new parks to be built in London outside the Olympic zone will also bring with it 808 new homes, allotments, a showpiece community centre, a cafe, a creche and an IT suite.

Myatts Fields North, in Stockwell, will offer the impressive range of community facilities "hidden" beneath a grassed-over roof, as well as landscaped outdoor space.

London has more green space than most world cities. As well as eight Royal Parks, there are heaths and commons, 600 traditional garden squares, numerous public parks such as London Fields, plus well-kept community spaces tucked away in unlikely pockets of the inner city.

Being close to green space improves people's quality of life and is of great recreational use, particularly for families with young children. But living close to open space does not have to cost a fortune. Increasingly, affordable homes are sprouting up alongside -- even within -- parks, often as part of wider regeneration prioritising the natural environment.

Modern-day planners are keen to promote the amenity value of parks and open spaces, which dovetails with the "sustainable development" agenda. Mayor Boris Johnson's "great outdoors" initiative is improving the quality of 80 London neighbourhoods, while the Royal Institute of British Architects sponsors a "forgotten spaces" competition for the imaginative re-use and adaptation of neglected plots, encouraging designers to work with local groups and residents wherever possible. The Myatts Fields development is a private finance initiative now under way, a collaboration between Lambeth council, which owns the site, and a consortium of developers, with PRP Architects as the masterplanners. Maisonettes, flats and houses for rent, sale and shared ownership are being built, with the first phase due for completion next year. For more information visit regenter.com "Public parks are an extension of the home for many young people and families who cannot afford a property with a private garden," says Becky Munday of south-east London estate agent Wooster & Stock.

WHERE TO BUY Burgess Park, a 113-acre expanse which runs between Peckham and Walworth, is one of the green spaces benefiting from mayoral investment, topped up by an additional [pounds sterling]6 million from Southwark council. The park has a number of listed buildings including a Victorian church, library and baths, almshouses and artisan cottages, and is being upgraded with a new lake, entrances, pathways and recreational areas plus 90,000 new plants and trees and a wildlife garden.

The area is a good hunting ground for cheaper homes close to central London. Homes surrounding the park are within the price range of first-time buyers. Two-bedroom flats at a development on St George's Way, overlooking the park, cost from [pounds sterling]250,000. …

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