Submitted designs

December 2021 – January 2022

 
 

Following several years of local engagement and 4 public consultations, we have submitted the planning application for Grosvenor Square to Westminster City Council.

This exhibition gives a summary of the designs and how we have responded to feedback. It also provides details on the statutory consultation run by Westminster City Council, and we encourage you to take part in this important part of the process.

 
 
Outdoor exhibition in Grosvenor Square:
6-28 Jan
 
Meet the team in the Square:
6 Jan
3 - 6pm
11 Jan 12 - 3pm
15 Jan 12 - 3pm
 
 
 

Creating a shared vision

 

We have worked hard to ensure the final proposals are grounded in the Community Priorities you told us were most important. We’ve used these priorities as a consistent tool to guide the design team and ensure that local ambitions are being met.

Since March 2020 we have:

 
 
 
 

The submitted designs

The submitted designs would transform Grosvenor Square into a world-class public green space. They enhance biodiversity, enable climate resilience and celebrate the Square’s rich history, whilst supporting education and community wellbeing. Our ambition is to create a garden that meets the needs of a modern city, to be enjoyed for years to come.

Hover over the labels to find out more about different elements of the designs.

 

This online exhibition is split into 6 sections and structured around the Community Priority themes, which you can see by clicking on the icons below.

 
 
 
 

Green in our cities

 
 

A garden for all ages and abilities, with distinct environments for everyone to enjoy including a Shaded Garden with a variety of seating to meet all needs.

A central open space

The flowering lawn of the Open Garden retains the central open space at the heart of the square. The gradual mound channels passing foot traffic around the garden, creating a space for people to rest, read, or socialise,

The waterfall canopies at the western end of the garden will be a unique and intriguing water feature, bringing the water cycle to life for visitors.

 

Water to see, hear & touch

At the eastern end of the garden, in front of the 9/11 memorial, a wetland will create a tranquil and reflective environment, supporting wildlife in the square. A rill, re-invigorated fountains in the FDR memorial and swales in the Shaded Garden will knit the experience of water across the garden. As well as various water features there would be drinking fountains to reduce the need for plastic bottles.

Variety of seating

There would be a variety of around 400 places to sit in different shapes, locations, and materials. This includes a bench around the Open Garden and various sizes of seats, benches, and tables in the Shaded Garden. The Open Garden will invite visitors to lay on the grass when the weather allows.

 

In Autumn 2020 some people felt we could do more to celebrate the 20th Century elements. We have achieved this through the retention and improvement of the existing FDR fountains, as well as the North – South link in the Open Garden that leads to the FDR memorial.

 

Reflect the square’s history

The balance between old and new has been a consistent theme in our discussions. In the early stages we received positive feedback on the fusion of contemporary design with Georgian elements. This is brought to life through the Open Garden, social ovals, oval seating, and oval pathway.

Green oasis not an event space

Many people wanted the square to be a calm and restorative place and so we understood that accommodating large events should not drive the design. However, it was clear that there was interest in smaller-scale programming, which the large Oval Garden and social ovals would create space for.

Over the past year we piloted small-scale events which were well attended, positively received, and could be replicated in the future.

 
 
 
 

Accessing the outdoors

 
 

Enhanced management, security, and lighting will create a safer environment, which people can enjoy for longer through extended opening hours.

Safe & secure environment

The entrances and Oval Garden path around the Oval Garden would be well-lit by lighting spires. Low-level lighting and discrete spotlights would illuminate the Shaded Garden path and social ovals. Lights would be directed towards specific areas within the Square rather than outside it and dimmed or turned off when the square is closed.

As well as lighting, a safe environment will be achieved by CCTV, lockable gates and passive surveillance from the two buildings. Lines of sight across the square would also be retained.

Highlight & improve entrances

Entrances will be widened to make them more accessible, and the boundary hedge would also stop wide of the entrances to allow people to glimpse into spectacular planting within the Shaded Garden. Extended opening hours to 7am-10pm would allow people to enjoy the Square for longer.

Stepping into nature

Carefully selected planting at the boundary, next to the arrival and in the Shaded Garden will make arriving at the square feel like stepping into an urban oasis. There will be a more diverse range of flowering and fruiting trees, shrubs, vines, and climbers across the garden.

Cut throughs, winding routes & walkways enclosed by nature

The meandering path beneath trees and amongst plants in the Shaded Garden would immerse visitors in nature, allowing them to enjoy the square at a slower pace.

People could also use the square as a shortcut between neighbouring streets, but the primary path around the Open Garden is designed to encourage people to walk around the grass rather than cut across it.

 
 
 
 

Spectacular horticulture & biodiversity

 
 
 

A 500% increase in plant species and 24 more trees will have a huge impact on Mayfair’s biodiversity and provide habitats for wildlife.

Variety & seasonal change

The wider range of native and non-native plants and everchanging mosaic of wildflowers, ferns and woodland shrubs will create special moments throughout the year. The flowering season will be extended through carefully curated plant communities, with bluebells and blossom trees bursting with colour in Spring and rich Autumn colours from late flowering shrubs and fruiting trees.

A garden to delight the senses

As well as trees that flower and bloom, the planting choices have been carefully considered to create a variety of sensory experiences in the Square. Find out more by hovering over the purple labels on the plan below.

Inviting & supporting wildlife

A range of features and habitats will encourage and support more wildlife in the Square. Find out more by hovering over the blue labels on the plan below.

 

Variety of trees

46 new trees of up to 20 different species would grow and flourish as some existing trees reach the end of their natural life. New trees are shown on the plan in green and existing trees outlined in grey. We have identified 22 trees that would be removed as they are poor quality, diseased, or expected to die within the next 10 years.

Most existing trees are London Planes of around the same age, which makes them susceptible to disease. A wider variety of species not only conserves more trees, but also has other ecological benefits by providing a wider range of habitats.

Crab Apple

 

Flowering Dogwood

 

Hawthorn

 

Japanese Maple

 
 
 
 
 

Healthy places

 
 

A variety of spaces including a large Open Garden and social ovals allow for different activities, including natural play space, really makes this a place for everyone.

Shelter & facilities to support activities

The proposals include two new buildings nestled under two large trees at the south of Square.

An education centre for activities or workshops to get people closer to nature and learning about the environment.

A refreshment kiosk offering simple refreshments; the revenue from which will support the education centre.

 

Embracing the education opportunity

We want to develop an education programme which utilises Grosvenor Square to support the school curriculum, youth organisations and community groups.

We are currently working with London Wildlife Trust on a pilot event programme. This will help us understand which classes and activities are most appropriate or in-demand so that we can shape the future offering.

Providing playful experiences

There are two play areas identified within the garden, which will include a collection of naturalistic play equipment. The design of which will be shaped through workshops with local families. Social Ovals and paths within the planting will also provide routes for children or adults to discover and have fun.

Hollow logs to crawl through

 

Trees to climb

 

Magnifying post to learn about nature

 

A calm & peaceful place with more intimate spaces

The Shaded Garden and boundary hedge will protect the square – both visually and acoustically – from external factors such as passing vehicles. The sound of running water will create a tranquil environment, such as the wetland habitat and water features in front of the 9/11 memorial.

The design has sought to create a wide variety of different areas for different uses, while retaining the sense of space.

 
 
 
 

Urban Ecology

 
 
 

An innovative Environmental Net Gain framework will measure the ecological impact so that we can maximise and demonstrate what is possible in green spaces.

Carefully utilise water

Swales, permeable paving, waterfall canopies, and wetlands will hold and filter water and offer slow-release benefits. This helps to protect the Square from large volumes of standing water and flash flooding. Rainwater collected on the hard surfaces will be stored in harvesting tanks for use in the dryer months.

The calming sound of flowing water through the waterfall canopies, rill and wetland fountains will also drown out the external sounds of the city.

 

Reducing air & noise pollution

Plant species have been chosen to include those with air quality benefits, and measurements will be taken when the project is complete to track impact. Layered planting at the boundary will help minimise air and noise pollution from outside the Square.

Promote knowledge of ecology

Grosvenor Square will be an exemplar for ecology, sustainability and climate action delivering significant environmental benefits to the local area. We are monitoring these numerous measures in an innovative Environmental Net Gain framework so that we can continue to learn about and improve our impact.

Sustainable resources

All elements of design are developed to be low carbon and materials would be sourced responsibly. Once complete, energy would be generated using solar panels and water collected on site for reuse. In line with our sustainability commitments, we would deliver and operate Grosvenor Square as carbon neutral from day one. 

Long-term community involvement

Meaningful community involvement during and beyond the delivery ofthe redesign of Grosvenor Square is fundamental to our vision. The design includes a wider variety of spaces for community activities, and we look forward to better understanding the types of things people want to organise or take part in. Grosvenor Square already has a Community Steering Group, and we envisage the future of this group to evolve and take on a more active role in a redesigned square.

 
 
 

Share your views with Westminster

The statutory consultation run by Westminster City Council is now live. We encourage you to take part in this important aspect of the process by commenting on the application.

Please note that any comments made to Grosvenor would not be a formal response and so your comments should be directed to Westminster.