A park that was transformed from a drab space into a popular naturally draining oasis of wildlife has won a major planning award.
Ladywell Fields won best new public space at this year's London Planning Awards. The rejuvenation of the park in Lewisham turned the underused and featureless space into a thriving and functional urban feature.
The redesign includes new entrances and an improved network of footpaths with new lighting and furniture. This helps provide safe access and links to connect the local community to its new-look parkland with orchard and wild flower meadows.
But the judges were really impressed with its flood attenuation, said landscape architect BDP. Director Mehron Kirk said the cost of environmental damage from polluted rain runoff was estimated by the Environment Agency to be up to £250m.
"Urban trees, sustainable drainage and green roofs retain water to reduce peak runoff," he added. "They also filter water and reduce the risk of flooding.
"The project at Ladywell Fields focused on a park disconnected by a channelised river. It turned this into a natural flowing environmental asset with the river at its heart. The key to success was looking cohesively at the whole site and working with nature. Benefits include reduced flood risk and new connections along the river."
The £2m regeneration, completed in spring 2011, was funded by the London Development Agency.
The awards event, organised by London First with the mayor of London, Royal Town Planning Institute and London councils, celebrates outstanding contributions to urban renaissance. The prize was presented by the mayor at City Hall last week.
Boris Johnson, mayor of London
"For more than a decade these awards have inspired us with new ideas to create places and spaces that make our great city an even better place to live, work and invest. Winning projects raise the benchmark for great planning and design in the capital."