Copyright: Grant Associates

The Key Strategies proposed in the Infrastructure and Public Realm Plan are based on the principles of creating an exemplary climate change adapted piece of public realm. This approach reflects the current guidance and policies of Westminster and London.

There are many social, economic and environmental issues associated with the Church Street and Paddington Green area that need to be tackled: poor air quality, over-capacity drainage and flooding, summer heat and drought, deficient open space for informal play and lack of with nature, high instances of poor physical and mental health as well as the lowest average life expectancies for men and women compared to the whole of Westminster, low land values compared to the neighbouring areas, poor evening economy and insufficient and poorly managed infrastructure.

In the past there has been improvements to the public realm implemented within the Paddington and Church Street area but they have been largely piecemeal and proven to be ineffectual. The Infrastructure and Public Realm Plan acknowledges that there is a need for a more holistic and dramatic step-change required in the public realm in order to address many of the issues in the area and create one of London’s most liveable neighbourhoods and a model for future estate and neighbourhood renewal in Westminster.

The area is quite unique in that the land ownership of the streets and many of the buildings and associated garden spaces fall under the ownership of Westminster City Council. One of the key moves proposed in the Infrastructure and Public Realm Plan is to redefine the public realm both in terms of its extent and character in order to maximise the opportunities for different uses and activities; improved market spaces, informal play, gardens, spaces for wildlife, car-free routes.

The neighbourhood will be a beacon for the benefits of city living with an emphasis on sustainability, amenity and safety. The existing green spaces and gardens on estates will be connected by a rich mosaic of green streets and public spaces, reconnecting the neighbourhood. We aim to enhance the existing streets and landscape, recognising that each block has its own particular shape and character; ensuring everyone has ready access to quality green space and activities such as gardening and play. It is intended to provide something for everyone.

The proposals represent a shift in the way the area will be perceived. We are proposing an incredible 500% increase in tree numbers across the Church Street ward public realm alone, and the equivalent volume greater than an olympic-sized swimming pool in rain garden attenuation across the whole area. All this and other major beneficial additions to the public realm will be achieved without the net loss of overall car parking numbers.

In addition to better streets and spaces, plans are being developed to introduce district wide heating to supply hot water and heat to new homes, and where possible existing homes, more sustainably and efficiently. Improvements to waste collection infrastructure will be made to make it easier to recycle and to help keep streets cleaner.