Forest garden proposed for Bishopsgate goods-yard scheme

Derelict Bishopsgate goodsyard

Derelict Bishopsgate goodsyard - Credit: E Lond Gdn Soc

Environment campaigners are calling for a forest garden to be laid out above the historic Braithwaite railway arches at the proposed Bishopsgate goods-yard complex to offset the carbon footprint of the commercial development.

Derelict Bishopsgate goodsyard

Derelict Bishopsgate goodsyard - Credit: E Lond Gdn Soc

Members of the East London Garden Society are pressing the case for a new rooftop park as part of the proposals for the huge swathe of land between Spitalfields, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch, which has been in neglect since the goods terminal was destroyed by fire in 1964.

Historic 1861 Braithwate arches at Bishopsgate goodsyard

Historic 1861 Braithwate arches at Bishopsgate goodsyard - Credit: Archant

Now a pause in development resulting from the recession over the past six years has let nature creep back into the open land along the Liverpool Street railway, the society argues.

“It’s the natural response of an empty site returning to the wild and increasing biodiversity,” said campaigner Geoff Juden. “What is emerging is a garden for people to be involved with nature.”

A forest garden would sit above the world-heritage Braithwaite arches built in 1861 as part of the Eastern Counties rail terminal, before Liverpool Street station was opened 20 years later. The site became a goods terminal in 1919, but remained derelict for 50 years following the 1964 blaze.

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The design of the forest garden would include planting that would remediate the soil over time, improving the environment toward a productive agro-forestry landscape, the society points out.

An ecological system of trees, shrubs, climbers, groundcover, herbs and roots would offset “the intensive carbon footprint” of the proposed redeveloped by the Ballymore Group.

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The developers have been negotiating with the East End Trades Guild since last summer to include small businesses in the commercial scheme.

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