Thirty three people attended Roman Road Trust’s third Common Vision workshop on Public Realm including guest speakers from Friends of Meath Gardens, London Waterways Project, Play Association Tower Hamlets, Verry Kerry and LDA Design. Talks were so animated that the event didn’t end til 10pm.
Tunde Morakinyo and Julia Miller from friends of Meath Gardens opened the proceedings by telling us about the history of the Meath Garden’s, which was being used as a cemetery in the mid 19th century. Their aim is to create spaces for wildlife by involving the community with ideas on how to connect all green spaces throughout the area, creating a green corridor which goes from Mile End Park, through Meath Gardens, through Cranbrook Community Garden and Globe Town Market Square.
The next speaker was Lee Wilshire, who set up London Waterways Project four years ago. He lives on a boat himself, making him passionate about bettering life of people living on a boat and those who live around canals. Lee stressed the importance of making Roman Road a place and destination, with good wayfaring, which is well connected to Regent’s canal, improving the experience of cyclists as well as pedestrians.
Eleanor Image from PATH (Play Association Tower Hamlets) talked about the importance of places were can children play. Currently, the play spaces in the area are not well maintained. There needs to be a place for children to move around freely beyond the basic KFC (Kit, fence, carpet) playgrounds. She highlighted the importance of basing new designs not just for children but for parents too.
Kerry Mounsey presented her project Rainbow Square, which would transform the market square to a greener space, a space to inspire school kids, revive the historical market, celebrate local talents and artisans and promote arts, creativity and culture. Kerry stressed the importance of involving local school children to encourage civic pride in the younger generation.
The final presentation was from LDA Design, the architects commissioned by the local authority to conduct a feasibility on the market square, Andrew Kay presented a range of ideas for reviving the square including adding more stalls, water fountains, create a town square with seating, a green park space or a creative hub. General pedestrian experience was also discussed including pavement improvements, reviving abandoned planters, shop front improvements, maximising the pedestrian street and adding trees.
Following the presentations, attendees were divided into four smaller groups to do workshop sessions about a greener high street, a better place for young people, a space for community events & markets and a welcoming high street. They then presented their ideas to the group, this included:
- New green spaces with more grass and big trees to filter pollutants
- Friendlier cycle paths and plastic free Tower Hamlets
- A solar powered digital notice board to spreading information about events
- A longterm strategy for spaces for young people, developed and run by themselves
- Get young people involved in contributing ideas to the new design of the square
- A market stall run by young people
- Bring in inspiring people for talks and to teach skills on the market square
- Test projects on the market square, for example conversation cafe or mind body spirit activities
- Adding a historical element to capturing the richness of the East End’s heritage
- Animation of the high street with restaurants and al fresco dining
- Minimise parking fee’s on the high street to encourage stop & shop
- Ramadan market late at night
This meeting was particularly expansive, detailed and interesting with discussions around crucial themes regarding Globe Town’s public spaces with special focus on the market square. Thanks to everyone who made the time, contributed, listened and shared.
Roman Road Trust is helping to bring together the people of Globe Town to form a common vision for the high street and the community it serves. For that we have been running a series of workshops on the first Tuesday of each month. Our next workshop will be on Tuesday 9 January and will be focused on Arts & Culture.
Globe Town Common Vision Placemaking Workshops is funded by London Borough of Tower Hamlets, working in partnership with Roman Road Trust to improve local governance and support the delivery of regeneration initiatives in the Globe Town area of Roman Road West.