An under-used green chain walk at Abbey Way and the nearby Maran Way in South Thamesmead
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Under-used green spaces to transform into flourishing parkland as final stage of £3.9m landscaping programme gets underway

Two under-used walking routes in South Thamesmead are to be transformed into flourishing parkland and play areas, after the London Borough of Bexley granted us planning permission for major landscaping works in the neighbourhood.

The improvement works, which will take place along an under-used green chain walk at Abbey Way and the nearby Maran Way, will mark the final part of the £3.9m South Thamesmead Garden Estate programme – led by Peabody working in partnership with the Mayor of London and environmental charity, Groundwork. Enhancing and maintaining Thamesmead’s remarkable landscape is a key part of Peabody’s work to improve, grow and look after Thamesmead for the long term. 

Contributing to a European funded project called CLEVER Cities, the South Thamesmead Garden Estate programme focuses on trying new ways to work with the community to create sustainable neighbourhoods that help people and nature to thrive.  

The programme has been designed by muf architecture/art in association with the Community Design Collective, a group of local residents who were recruited at the outset to work part-time on the programme, and who are being paid the London Living Wage. The Community Design Collective has played an integral role in the South Thamesmead Garden Estate to date, shaping the design by taking part in training, carrying out site visits, gathering feedback from local people, and sharing their own experiences of living in Thamesmead.  

Beginning in May 2023 the improvement works include:  

  •   Landscaping at Abbey Way to include a variety of exciting spaces, with refurbished pathways, planting, seating and cooking areas 
  •  The creation of a continuous, landscaped pedestrian route at Maran Way which will include new trees and rain gardens, as well as three raised crossings to help pedestrians cross safely 
  • New lighting on some pedestrian bridges and the underpass connecting Maran Way with Abbey Way  
  • Refurbishment of, and new lighting at, The Cage – a multi-use games area close to Abbey Way and an upgrade to an existing playground  
  • Outdoor classrooms and a bird hide at Southmere Lake at the end of Abbey Way 

The improvements are being carried out by landscaping specialists, Maylim. As part of their contract, they have committed to open up new opportunities for local people, including full time employment, work placements, careers support and other activities. The CDC will meet with Maylim as the works take place to find out about the progress they are making. 

The landscaping works will build on the success of earlier parts of the South Thamesmead Garden Estate programme, including the completion of an edible garden at Maran Way for local people, the planting of wildflower meadows at Abbey Way and the introduction of high-quality planting, lighting, play equipment and seating across the Parkview and Southmere estates. 

Dr Phil Askew, Director of Landscaping and Placemaking at Peabody, said: “The South Thamesmead Garden Estate programme is all about getting people out and about in their local area and encouraging nature to thrive. The Community Design Collective have played in invaluable role in designing these exciting new outdoor spaces which will be a pleasure to pass through and spend time in. We’re really looking forward to welcoming our Maylim on site and seeing things progress in the months ahead.”  

Shirley Rodrigues, London Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, said: ”The CLEVER Cities project is transforming under-used green spaces into flourishing parklands, with these walking routes creating more resilient neighbourhoods and helping both people and nature thrive.This project delivers on the Mayor’s commitment to work with housing associations to improve access to green spaces, to help Londoners reduce flood risk, and to bring nature to people’s doorsteps as we work to build a better, greener London for everyone.” 

John Hogan, member of the Community Design Collective, said: “Our plans for the South Thamesmead Garden Estate are both ambitious and exciting. We’re really looking forward to the transformation, and seeing people make the most of this revitalised green space right on their doorstep. It’s wonderful to see this happening alongside the work elsewhere to breath new life into other local shared spaces, including the edible gardens at Maran Way and the Atrium, and the Hawksmoor community garden”. 

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