Children wowed by city oasis that helps prevent flooding

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Cllr Wesley Harcourt with one of the new water collection points as pupils look at the new garden feature

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An innovative project to create a safe playing and environmentally conscious open space by pedestrianising a White City road has been officially opened.

Bridget Joyce Square in Australia Road, was opened to the public by H&F Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport and Residents Services, Cllr Wesley Harcourt, on Monday.

The square, at the front of the Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre, has created community amenity with plants and trees, but also features special permeable paving and plant-filled basins that will help reduce the impact of flash floods during heavy rain.

“We are delighted that this flagship project for the council is now able to be used by the local community, who have been so supportive of our work to regenerate the area,” said Cllr Harcourt.

“This is the first time in London than an entire road has been dedicated to a sustainable drainage system (SuDS) which will not only help protect local residents from floods, but will also increase biodiversity as well as enhancing the area with an attractive new amenity.”

The system is designed so that during storms, the maximum amount of rainfall is retained on the site, rather than flowing into the combined sewer system. Rainwater from the school roof and other buildings will be guided via channels into the planted basins and raingardens.

A small ‘balance wall’ winds its way through the plants and trees in the basins to provide a low-maintenance play feature for children and there is also an open piazza-type space for the community to host events, such as the annual W12 Festival.

Following residents’ concerns for safety, improved lighting and CCTV were also included.

The square is named after the late Bridget Joyce, a childcare worked who dedicated more than 50 years of her life to help children at the Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre.

The project was completed following public consultations and was funded by Transport for London, the Lead Local Flood Authority and the Greater London Authority.

Representatives from each organisation attended Monday’s opening, along with schoolchildren from the local schools, who had taken part in a drawing competition.

A smaller SuDS scheme exists in Kenmont Gardens, with more planned across H&F.

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