Sutton Council became the first One Planet Living council in 2009, with its action plan to deliver sustainability to this outer London borough
Heart of Hackbridge - 'sustainable placemaking' made this London borough better for people
Sustainability in suburbia
Bioregional developed and led a partnership bid to the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund to radically improve the suburban local centre of Hackbridge, preparing it for the challenges it will face over the coming years. These include major housing and retail redevelopment of surrounding brownfield sites.
Overseen by a local resident and stakeholder Project Board which we set up, and working across the ten One Planet Living principles, Bioregional delivered a multifaceted £1.4 million regeneration programme including:
- Local economic development, working with 23 existing local traders to diversify their offer and cut their energy bills, to prepare for the competitive challenges they face
- Sustainable business operations, including south London’s first Marine Stewardship Council-certified fish & chip shop and a solar-powered coffee van
- Community development, including running family events and facilitating a local business network.
We underpinned this with a co-ordinated programme of high-impact low-cost environmental improvements, including
- A traffic calming scheme, with a safer highway layout, narrowing the main carriageways and junction, with new informal pedestrian crossing points
- Transformation of the street setting, by widening of pavements and installing new trees, seats, cycle facilites, rain-gardens, wayfinding, shopfronts and signage
- Creation of a new ‘Pocket Park’, providing a new entrance to the Beddington Farmlands and emerging Wandle Valley Regional Park.
- Five new jobs have been created in local businesses, and one new business has started up.
- To promote this positive change we organised three community events in the centre attracting more than 1,000 people.
The bulk of the work was completed in 2014, with the Pocket Park being completed in June 2015. This has transformed a neglected corner plagued by fly-tipping and unauthorised car parking, providing a tranquil green space to sit, chat and relax a few yards from the shops and services.
In the Spring of 2015 we surveyed Hackbridge centre visitors to find out what impact these changes had made. Compared to findings from a baseline survey in 2012, we found visitors were likely to come to the centre, spend more time and money in it, had a better opinion of it and felt the local shops had improved.
The proportion of visitors saying they:
- visited the shops every day doubled, from 31% to 63%
- felt the local shops were either poor or very poor fell from 26% to just 8%
- spent more than £10 per visit rose from 49% to 58%
- spent more than 15 minutes per visit rose from 25% to 55%
About our partners
The London Borough of Sutton took the lead role in the highway engineering aspects of this project. It is the first One Planet Council.
Adams & Sutherland Architecture, Landscape and Urban Design were the project’s designer.
Retail Revival were our retail consultants for this project.
With funding from Sutton Council, I was able to install eight solar panels on my coffee van. This has given me a lot of freedom as well as attracting new customers as they are a great talking point.Moh Imran, Owner of Moh's coffee