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Calls for an urban forest garden to tackle pollution in Brick Lane and Shoreditch

PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:53 10 December 2018

The East London Garden Society has produced this image as an alternative to the developers' proposed design. Pic: East London Garden Society/Geoffrey Juden

The East London Garden Society has produced this image as an alternative to the developers' proposed design. Pic: East London Garden Society/Geoffrey Juden

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A gardening club’s members have called for an urban forest to be planted on top of railway arches.

The East London Garden Society has called on the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to back its idea to help tackle air pollution in Shoreditch and Brick Lane with a forest garden planted at the Bishopsgate Goods Yard development.

Geoffrey Juden, the society’s chairman, said: “Urban forestry is the way forward throughout the world today. Therefore it would be of benefit if such an iconic vista could be created within the development.

“Or at the least to have a viable alternative to a park.”

Urban forests have been found to improve air quality, reduce flooding and encourage wellbeing.

What the Bishopsgate Goodsyard development could look like. Pic: Hammerson and BallymoreWhat the Bishopsgate Goodsyard development could look like. Pic: Hammerson and Ballymore

The group wants to link the former Bishopsgate Station to a “green” bridge over Brick Lane before the urban forest garden ends at Allen Gardens.

The society’s members say it would include plants that would repair the soil with trees and shrubs growing alongside fruit and veg.

It would be managed by the community and, the society believes, create the largest urban forest in Europe.

A petition has been started in a bid to persuade the site’s developers, Ballymore Group and Hammerson, to support the idea rather than an “ill-judged park”.

Geoff Juden from the East London Garden Society.Geoff Juden from the East London Garden Society.

The firms submitted a planning application for 1,356 homes and retail space to Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils in 2014 which was called in by Sadiq Khan.

They have been consulting the public on updated proposals which include lower building heights and preserving more of the site’s heritage.

A spokesman for Ballymore and Hammerson said: “We have just concluded our extensive programme of public consultation with the community on our updated proposals for the regeneration of the site.

“The revised proposals will deliver an increased amount of new public realm totalling over six acres.

An artist's impression of the revised plans. Picture: BALLYMORE GROUP/HAMMERSONAn artist's impression of the revised plans. Picture: BALLYMORE GROUP/HAMMERSON

“This includes a series of connected gardens, terraces and walkways on the “high-line” style park above the historic Braithwaite Viaduct, providing a variety of trees and planting and range of accessible amenity space.”

The developers are going over the public’s comments and working on the plans with the GLA, Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils before another exhibition next year.

To sign the petition visit change.org

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