John Lewis rain garden wins £10,000 grant from Greater London Authority

A concrete area in front of John Lewis headquarters in central London is to be replaced by rain garden.

Rain garden: significant project
Rain garden: significant project

Flood-prone Victoria is to get central London's first street-side rain garden after a project for the John Lewis headquarters was given the go-ahead.

Designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett with the Landscape Agency and to be built by Landform Consultants, the project attracted a £10,000 grant from the Greater London Authority's Drain London project.

Work will start in September to transform a cobbled concrete area at the front of the building into a rain garden with evergreens, perennials and sarcococca hedges.

Dunnett plans to replace cobbles with a sunken receiving site for rainwater run-off from the road, pavements and building. There will be a new kerb with inlets to channel rainwater. He also plans a series of small roof gardens.

Landform Consultants director Mark Gregory said: "It's a really significant job. It's a commercial company doing something about green infrastructure. It's only tiny - 150sq m including the roof gardens - but prestigious.

"I'm excited about the bigger picture. When commercial companies start turning hard landscapes into rain gardens, that could be good for our industry."

The rain garden is one of a series of improvements masterminded by the Victoria Business Improvement District (BID), which was established in 2010.

Victoria BID environment and sustainability manager David Beamont said: "The Diamond Garden - also designed by Nigel for the BID - is getting people more interested in what we're doing. People are getting in touch with us seeing what else we've got planned now and it should lead to more conversions in future."

Landform Consultants, employed by the BID, will maintain the garden for one year after completion, after which it will hand back responsibility to the John Lewis Partnership.

Victoria station Improving the environment

London's Victoria station is particularly prone to flooding. Building density and hard surfaces also cause overheating during hot weather.

Land Use Consultants and Ecology Consultancy were commissioned by Victoria Business Improvement District to conduct a "green and grey" audit of the area. This was used to improve the environment and biodiversity and boost appeal to workers, residents and visitors.

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