The City of London Corporation was certainly ambitious with this scheme, setting out to enhance the public realm, improve accessibility, increase biodiversity and improve the function of other local streets all in one hit.
Mitre Square was previously an unattractive and unwelcoming space, which was dominated by cars and offered poor pedestrian connectivity.
Luckily the redevelopment of the commercial property to the north and west of the site provided the opportunity to create a new public space that could be enjoyed by a diverse range of local stakeholders.
During the design stage, it became apparent that the original Section 106 obligation would not deliver the level of enhancement wanted by the project’s working party. The City then worked with the developer to agree an additional Section 278 contribution that ensured the final project was of the highest quality.
The first phase of the project focused on the functional changes around the property development. This included an expansive pedestrian space outside the new building entrance and a raised granite sett carriageway adjacent to the development to allow a low number of servicing vehicles to access the area. New accessible footways and a shared cycle space were also included.
The second phase of the project focused on Mitre Square itself, delivering a new pedestrianised public space centred around two large planter beds formed of flamed granite. Areas of tree and shrub planting were incorporated, with a lawn that is accessible from the main pedestrian routes.
The raised planters also serve as extensive seating in the space. A mixture of slatted wooden inserts and armrests provide a mix of seating and reduce the likelihood of damage and disturbance from skateboarding.
Mitre Square is now a popular green space, used by a variety of local people as well as becoming an important connecting route to the nearby Aldgate Square.
Submitted by: Tom Noble, Group Manager, City of London Corporation
Design: Townshend Landscape Architects
Sub-contractors: Fountaineers, Bruns Nursery, Stone Restoration Services and BBS