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The East London Garden Society

The Great Eastern Parks Route

Great Eastern Park logo

The Shoreditch Forest Garden has transformed into The Great Eastern Parks Route.

The Bishopsgate Goodsyard Development is contractually bound to create a community park for the benefit of the public realm.

After listening to local opinion, it has been decided to have a park that best suits the area, will combat the toxic air we are presently breathing and help climate change. The park must be self‐sufficient and sustainable.

A forest garden would do just that, bringing revenue into the local area and interacting with the community. Suggestions of a plant nursery and/or a central London permaculture school has been mentioned.

This Forest Garden on top of the railway arches in Bishopsgate will be the largest in Europe and will be approximately a mile in length. It was realised that the now disused railway viaduct which serviced The Bishopsgate Goodsyard, might also be made available as a nature adventure commencing in Shoreditch, travelling east through Tower Hamlets and onward into Newham where The River Lea meets The River Thames, taking us through the associated gardens and parks in east London.

The latest diagram (see below) shows the commencement of the route from Shoreditch, but an alternative route would be to approach The Regents Canal and then proceed to where the canal meets The River Thames at The Limehouse Basin. At last, London boroughs have seen the benefits of this nature adventure.

Great Eastern Park route

The strip in the diagram is the disused rail line

Developers Change Agreement

In conjunction with others, The East London Garden Society had put forward the idea of the largest Forest Garden in Europe on top of the redundant rail viaduct as part of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard Development and make it a public realm community park.

Together, we had successfully persuaded the developers, Hammerson and Ballymore, on the necessity of this community park and at our last meeting with them it was stated, "You will get what you want" which we considered a victory.

The reasoning behind this park being:

It is disconcerting to be informed that the community will get most of what it wants, but not all. Any dilution of the original forest plan will not enable the forest garden to perform to the maximum and will not use the vegetation to enhance and negate the high levels of poor air quality in the Shoreditch area.

It is therefore necessary to object to the development on the grounds that the agreement made for the benefit of the public, is not being kept. To alter what was agreed without good cause or give prior knowledge of this change to those who negotiated the original plan, is not acceptable.

Forest Garden Bee School

Bees

The purpose of the meeting on 15 February 2020 was to explain the potential of having a bee school, appropriately placed in Millwall Park, with a meadow on top of the railway arches and integrating The Limehouse redundant viaduct as part of the Bee School.

We aimed to explain our position on The Great Eastern Parks Route, with a general conversation on the local environment.

Unfortunately, we chose the second worse day of the year on which to hold the meeting because of 'Storm Dennis', but several brave people attended. We explained how the Bee School could operate with it being brought into the framework of The Great Eastern Parks Route.

The Great Eastern Parks Route takes advantage of the parks/gardens through east London, commencing with The Shoreditch Forest Garden, arguably the largest in Europe, and would conclude at the East India Dock Basin, Limehouse Basin, Royal Docks and potentially The Bee School.

The Great Eastern Parks Route takes advantage of the parks/gardens through east London, commencing with The Shoreditch Forest Garden, arguably the largest in Europe, and would conclude at the East India Dock Basin, Limehouse Basin, Royal Docks and potentially The Bee School.

Millwall Park Viaduct study for rewilding & activating community infrastructures by EBBA Architects.

See The Bishopsgate Goodsyard for its history and more information about the Forest Garden proposal.

What’s your view of the proposed plan and do you support it? Let us have your Comment.


Reader Comments

13/2/2019 ‐ Inner city folk do not experience the wonders of nature. A forest garden on their doorstep would go a long way to opening their eyes to life beyond the city.

17/2/2020 ‐ Absolutely fabulous idea, and I totally support it. (AD)

15/3/2020 ‐ What a fantastic proposal. (M)

27/3/2020 ‐ I fully support the Great Eastern Parks Route proposal. (MP)

25/5/2020 ‐ Great use for this site. It has been lying idle for too long. A similar garden is in Paris near the Bastille.

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