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‘We just finished planting our trees to make Bow greener before the Big Lock Down’

PUBLISHED: 10:00 31 March 2020

Planting a flower meadow to open up Malmesbury neighbourhood in Bow. Picture: Malmesbury RA

Planting a flower meadow to open up Malmesbury neighbourhood in Bow. Picture: Malmesbury RA

Malmesbury RA

A major east London community environment scheme has just been completed in Bow before the Coronavirus lock-down kicked in preventing outdoor gatherings.

Using upturned railings reinvented as trellis for creeping plants. Picture: Malmesbury RAUsing upturned railings reinvented as trellis for creeping plants. Picture: Malmesbury RA

The ambitious project to transform the Malmesbury housing neighbourhood aims to make “a green paradise in the heart of Tower Hamlets”.

The last tree and shrub planting and grass turfing was completed by the Malmesbury residents’ association before Covid-19 made community gatherings impossible.

“The whole community got together just in time,” lawyer James Clark, a founder-member of the residents’ association, told the East London Advertiser. “We finished the planting thankfully before the big lock-down.

Volunteers roll out the barrel to help spruce up this neighbourhood in Bow. Picture: Malmesbury RAVolunteers roll out the barrel to help spruce up this neighbourhood in Bow. Picture: Malmesbury RA

“There isn’t much of a budget to improve housing estate environments, so we stepped in to generate funding in a way that brought people and organisations together to help us reduce air pollution and improve wildlife. This area was 75 per cent tarmac before!”

The project has transformed a baron square that was mainly tarmac with a some grass, near Tom Thumb’s Arch and Bow Road Underground station.

The residents’ association raised £40,000, the biggest chunk coming from the Veolia Trust.

Even worms lend a hand... well, sort of. Picture: Malmesbury RAEven worms lend a hand... well, sort of. Picture: Malmesbury RA

Volunteers planted 39 fruit and nut trees, 73 fruit bushes, 12 fruiting climbers, 1,200 herbaceous plants and a wildflower meadow.

They came from AgeUK East London and the local Co-Op in Bow Road which provided drinks and snacks. Building contractors from Blakedown helped plant trees while Tower Hamlets Homes provided extra cash for the project.

Members of Tower Hamlets Council turned up to lend a hand, even the mayor.

Taking shape... new lay-out aims to make this Bow neighbourhood a greener place for families. Picture: Malmesbury RATaking shape... new lay-out aims to make this Bow neighbourhood a greener place for families. Picture: Malmesbury RA

John Biggs said: “This is a great result from a community group with vision and determination to improve their estate. They have created a lovely green and colourful space that will provide fruit and improve air quality for years to come.”

Railings have been turned on their side and used as trellis for climbing plants. Paving slabs were lifted and repositioned to create pathway walks and stepping stones through the new planting.

The planting itself, inspired by the bright and colourful fruit stalls down Roman Road market, has also created new habitats for wildlife.


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