Meanwhile Use- “the temporary use of vacant buildings or land for a socially beneficial purpose until such a time that they can be brought back into commercial use again. It makes practical use of the ‘pauses’ in property processes, giving the space over to uses that can contribute to quality of life and better places whilst the search for a commercial use is ongoing.”
Over a bank holiday weekend last May, Nomadic Community Gardens opened its doors at our vacant site in Fleet St Hill. In the months that have ensued the area has been transformed from a once neglected wasteland into a transportable community garden and art’s space. The site is flanked by two railway lines and has a triangular configuration, its orientation also makes it an ideal suntrap for plants. Its walls now function as one of the longest street art galleries in East London.
Fleet Street Hill forms part of our vision for the wider regeneration of the Tower Hamlets. Peter Barber Architects have drawn up plans for an exciting scheme that includes contemporary apartments and townhouses around a new public square and starter units for new businesses on the ground floor. Once completed, the scheme will make a tangible contribution to the area through the delivery of family homes, employment and public realm in a once neglected brownfield site.
In the interim, Nomadic Community Gardens, a grassroots social initiative aimed at engendering health, responsibility and security to surrounding residents has utilised the land to engage with the local community by showcasing innovative urban agriculture techniques using a modular pallet bed system to create “pop-up” gardens. In addition the site has been used to host workshops, skills sharing sessions and “cook offs” for the residents, local schools and disadvantaged groups.
Rob Soning, Londonewcastle’s COO believes that meanwhile use should become a widely adopted practice across the industry. “At both Fleet Street Hill and Redchurch Street we have adopted an active policy of engaging with young creatives and social entrepreneurs for the benefit of the wider community. At Redchurch Street we created a project space that has been used by emerging artists and will include an upcoming exhibition on immigration this coming June enabling local residents to become better engaged in the critical issues surrounding immigration and how we as a society are able to deal with these. At Fleet Street Hill we have been able to put the site to good use too as a functioning part of the urban outdoors and as such have empowered the local community.”
Nomadic Gardens is open all year round so if you want to get your hands dirty and be a part of a great project find out more @fb- Nomadic Community Gardens or visit their website www.1lovecommunty.org.uk. Alternatively just turn up, during the day and meet the boy’s face to face, feet placed firmly in the soil.