A ceremony took place this afternoon (Thursday, 21 July 2022) to officially re-open The Queen’s Gardens to the public, following major renovations to the popular town centre park.
The new designs combine woodland-themed planting with play equipment for different ages and abilities. The gardens are now more accessible and provide a cycle and pedestrian link between Fairfield Halls and the Town Hall.
At the start of the project, 1,500 local residents took place in consultations and a smaller group from the community developed ideas for the new park. These plans focused on improving accessibility and making the area more attractive for the community to enjoy.
Residents shared that they wanted a woodland feel to the planting scheme, with lots of low maintenance grassy areas that would attract insects.
As a result, the new green space has been revitalised, including 39 new trees, as well as a range of native and non-native plant species. This will provide a nature-rich environment year-round – with special attention paid to plants that encourage pollinators.
The new playground is a key feature of the project and was designed using a variety of timber elements incorporating abstract features, to bring about a flexible and inclusive feel, with a Secret Garden play structure.
The lower part of The Queen’s Gardens play area provides play equipment for younger children, using soft material to create mounds, while the upper area provides play equipment for older children. Features include: a sunken trampoline, horizontal bars, balance beam, monkey bars, shimmy ropes, a Cantilever swing, a timber slide and a toddler slide.
The renovations were part of the larger Queen’s Quarter development plans that saw developer HUB Residential and ‘specialist sustainable and impact investor’ Bridges Fund Management complete a 513-home development in the town centre.
The landmark scheme, comprising four blocks of 35, 21,19 and 13 storeys, were designed by the Stirling prize-winning AHMM, whilst the revamped gardens were designed by renowned landscape architecture practice Grant Associates.
“The Queen’s Gardens is a much-valued park in the heart of our town centre, so it’s great to see it back open and reimagined for residents and visitors to enjoy. Revitalising our public spaces – making them cleaner, greener and better connected – is at the heart of our wider regeneration plans, as is listening to our residents about how they want Croydon to grow and develop, and putting pride back into our town centre. This project is a great example of partnership work with local people to co-design a really exciting new public space, for residents of all ages to enjoy.”
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon
“I was delighted to open The Queen’s Gardens today, as this historic park is such a cherished part of Croydon’s town centre. Children are already making use of the new playground – and it is wonderful to hear the sound of play in a safe, clean, and green environment. I want to encourage residents to come and visit this park from across the borough – this is a great step toward the much-needed revitalisation of our town centre.”
Councillor Lynne Hale, Deputy Mayor and cabinet member for Housing
Damien Sharkey, Managing Director of HUB, said: “Queen’s Quarter is our most significant project to date, and is testament to what can be achieved when developers and design teams really listen to what communities want and need. This project creates a new landmark for Croydon’s town centre, setting a benchmark for regeneration in the area that benefits not just its residents, but also its neighbours.
“As well as delivering high quality, affordable homes for the people of Croydon, we had the opportunity to make a wider impact with the transformation of The Queen’s Gardens, which is now a wonderful community asset for generations of local people to come. We are now more conscious than ever of the vital importance of access to green space, and we are hugely excited to welcome the people of Croydon to their new park.”