A major improvement project for an important green space in the heart of Westminster is getting underway. Thanks to a project set up by the Victoria Business Improvement District (BID) and now managed by Westminster City Council, Christchurch Gardens will be transformed into a welcoming space for all to enjoy, with additional seating, features and elements that recognise the site’s historical background.
Christchurch Gardens is one of the few green public spaces in Victoria for people to meet and socialise in, but over time the gardens have become run down and today it suffers from incidences of anti-social behaviour too.
Westminster City Council will fund the scheme as part of its ongoing commitment to provide welcoming green and open spaces for residents and visitors.
Working in partnership, the Council and the Victoria and Victoria Westminster BIDs have launched this project to improve the Gardens, as part of their wider remit to make Victoria a desirable place to work, live and visit.
Permissions are now in place from Westminster Council, the Diocese of London and the Ministry of Justice to proceed with the enhancement project.
Ruth Duston OBE, OC, Chief Executive of the Victoria and Victoria Westminster BIDs said, “With great history, notable connections and in a prominent location, Christchurch Gardens has huge potential to be a popular and cherished green asset for the local area. We are proud to have spearheaded an ambitious project to transform the Gardens, working closely with Westminster City Council in a great demonstration on public / private collaboration.”
Westminster City Council Deputy Leader Tim Mitchell said, “Currently an unloved and underused space, Christchurch gardens has incredible history which this scheme will highlight and celebrate.
“We are creating a peaceful green oasis for people in the city to relax and enjoy amid the hustle and bustle of central London.”
ReardonSmith Landscape LLP were appointed by the BID in 2017 to develop design proposals for the site. Their design approach takes account of the prominent location of Christchurch Gardens, with a focus on improving access to the site and creating a welcoming, inclusive and contemporary space.
The scheme will connect the gardens more effectively to key routes in the surrounding urban area and the biodiversity of the site will also be improved.
The improved Gardens will incorporate design elements that reflect the long history of the site, which stretches back 400-years, and information about the notable people buried here will also be referenced. For several hundred years the site was a burial ground and then in the 1950s it was converted into a public garden.
The plans also include an extensive planting palette. Whilst trees are being removed as part of the design, the aim is to bring more light into the space for people, plants and the new lawn. New trees will also be planted.
Enabling works will be getting underway shortly, including the clearance of trees. Major Construction on site will be underway shortly afterwards, the enhanced Gardens will reopen to the public in summer 2020.