The urban greening of Ambassador House forecourt has brought to life a dirty, grey and disused area transforming it in to a vibrant, colourful and green space.
With art, planters, trees, seating and a community notice board the concrete square opposite the train station has become a community garden and welcoming destination.
Timberland stepped in to fund thegreening of the forecourt to the tune of £75,000 after the council created a bus stop garden with street art and storage unit. The £100,000 project was part of a competition with a prize of £15,000 to redesign the space but the council’s budget ran out before the planting.
Luckily award winning Croydon music artist Loyle Carner, who was keen to inject some muchneeded green into the inner city’s “concrete jungles”, posted a call to action on Twitter and was inundated with responses. Carner’s post also caught the attention of Timberland, which joined forces with the artist, Croydon Council and National Park City, Urban Growth to help bring his idea to life. The forecourt was chosen ahead of other sites because it needed love and the transformation had the most impact.
The project part of Timberland’s Nature Needs Heroes campaign, funded planters, plants and trees along with 12 months maintenance before reverting to the council. In a PR trailer for Timberland, Brit School graduate Carner spoke about his desire to take something grey and make it greener: “This is a community full of love and diversity it needed a space that reflected that. Its a small thing but to action that change in my area along with my friends and people who I grew up with in that community for me is a big deal.
“Allowing people from Thornton Heath to lead the project was pivotol. We wanted a create space they’d actually use and community garden which was alive and welcoming.”
The project kicked off last October, with an open community event and the plan was to complete the greening in April but Covid meant a scaled down event at the end of August with the community given a time slot and invited down to plant up the space .
The planters were designed to be easily moveable, anti graffiti painted and planted in such away as to deter theft. A lot of the plants were also chosen because they were hardy or influenced by the Windrush generation.
Sadly, the only functioning tap which Thornton Heath Community Action Team secured outside the former pub, now gym, was mysteriously disconnected. This meant that during the unusually hot temperatures in September, the community were left to ferry in bottles of water to ensure the new plants didn’t die. A gardening club is also being held every month to ensure the garden is well cared for.