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Southwell Rd Community De-Pave Garden (Light case study)


The Southwell Road garden is in the London Borough of Lambeth, located in the Herne Hill Ward on the boundary with the Coldharbour ward. The 270m² garden is situated behind the block of residential flats on Southwell Road.

The location resides in the catchment of the culverted River Effra, a tributary river to the Thames running through South London, now a ‘lost’ river as it was culverted in the 1860s. However, the topography of the land is still that of a river valley, increasing flood risk; the sewers are already fuller than they would be due to the ‘Effra water’ and the loss of green space in favour of hard surfaces means surface water runoff stretches the sewers even further. This has resulted in increased vulnerability to flooding in the area, added to by increased heavy rainfall events due to climate change. The area is highly urbanised, socially and culturally diverse with high levels of deprivation and low levels of well-being. London Wildlife Trust’s Lost Effra Project in partnership with Loughborough Farm, Loughborough Junction Action Group and Lambeth council and the support of the local community, removed the tarmac and installed SuDS to create a new green infrastructure that manages rainwater more intelligently. The previously unused space has been transformed into a community hub with edible gardens, communal seating and a variety of native flora.

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