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Westbury Estate January Study Trip

Earlier this week some Westbury residents came along on a Study Trip to visit two completed developments in the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. 

These developments are not projects by any of the Development Management Team but Nataly from the Resident Engagement Team, joined residents on this trip to get their feedback on what they did and did not like about the schemes.

In particular, we were looking at the spaces in-between the buildings; the public, private and communal gardens, entrances, walkways and the general feel of walking in and around the new homes. It was a lovely sunny day to visit Trafalgar Place and Van-Gogh Walk and hear what residents had to say about them.

Trafalgar Place

Our first stop was Trafalgar Place near Elephant and Castle. Overall residents really liked the spaces in between the homes, in particular the gated entrances, the public seating areas and examples of door-step play. Residents had some concerns about the type of planting and it's location causing issues for maintenance and vandalism. 

Key things people liked:
  • The secure fob system to get into the buildings
  • The seating along the walkways had nice, soft materials and people felt the seats were very subtle within the landscape and were nice for the children to play on.
  • The entrances to the homes with a small space and a secure fence or gate to enclose it. People liked that this could be a area to put flower pots or for the children to play
  • The entrances and doors being wide and spacious in all the homes
  • The green strip of planting along the walk acting as an additional boundary
  • Area of door-step play was a good distance from the home. Residents said it was nice to have a play area so close and helps that it is on a quiet path and away from cars. They also commented on a good balance of hard and soft surfaces around the play structures
  • The integration of retained trees in the play area and bird boxes
  • Brick walls of the buildings were nice as long they are well maintained and don't look dirty 
  • The entrance to the upper floor flats is nice with some wood and a bit of yellow colour that's not too garish 
Key things people didn't like:
  • The protruding balconies however with a glass wall these are slightly better and stand out less
  • The red front doors, would prefer a more natural colour or wood
  • Worried about the maintenance of the green strip of landscaping along the walk
  • Would prefer if the planting along the public walkways was raised. Having it higher up would mean it's less likely to be vandalised
  • Too much glazing on ground floor facade would disturb privacy. Would prefer a more solid door and facade
  • Green planting on the main road doesn't work, it doesn't maintain well and looks bad most of the year, prefer raised beds or bushes to create boundary from the pavement, or a fence.
Van Gogh Walk
Next we went over to Van Gogh Walk by Stockwell to see an example of shared surfaces and a different approach to communal outdoor spaces. 
Key things people liked:
  • The planting was much nicer than Trafalgar place as it was more eclectic, varied and the grass looked much healthier
  • Residents liked that the planting was divided into lots of raised beds and included a combination of beds, plant pots and trees.
  • On the way back from Van Gogh Walk, we passed another development which had taller planters that were used as walls to define and separate the road from the communal spaces
  • The bollards to keep the space enclosed and safer for children
  • Having parking spaces closer to the front door
  • Creative games for children that were also part of the paving and the landscape
Key things people didn't like:
  • The shared surface area, in particular having a basketball game area around a blind corner for cars to drive past. Having the option of cars driving through an area makes parents not want their children playing there
  • The safe areas are not defined or separated enough from the more dangerous areas where cars can freely drive through
  • It seems a lot of education is required to introduce a shared surface around a children's play space


Thank you to everyone for coming along and sharing your thoughts, comments and feedback with us. 

If you missed the study trip and would like to see some photos of the spaces that we visited you can find these at No.7 Fovant Court and you can also see the routes that we took around the estates and some key photos here.

The next Coffee and Cake at No.7 Fovant Court is this Friday 20th January at 2pm.