Whitfield Gardens

London borough of Camden
Our services
London borough of Camden | 2020 | London

Whitfield Gardens, London

Whitfield Gardens is the regeneration of the existing area as part of the overall ‘West End Project’ for the London borough of Camden. Situated in the heart of London, just off Tottenham Court Road, it is a busy urban environment which was not without challenges.

THE BALI NATIONAL LANDSCAPE AWARDS 2021 Category 1J | Hard Landscaping construction (non-domestic) over £500k

The Project

In 1756 the Whitfield Gardens was home of a half an acre burial site, it was closed to burials in 1856 and the site was cleared. LCC acquired the plot in 1894 and turned it into public gardens, the area was last re-generated in the early 1980’s.

Acting as principal contractor, idverde was appointed to re-model the space with an ambitious and technical scheme that has greatly enhanced the local surroundings. The remodelling works consist of bespoke planters and street furniture, lighting, Portuguese granite, and works to the Fitzrova Mural. Whitfield Gardens is the regeneration of the existing area as part of the overall ‘West End Project’ for the London borough of Camden. Situated in the heart of London, just off Tottenham Court Road, it is a busy urban environment which was not without its challenges. The site boundary was tight to existing buildings on three sides and contained many residents, including private home owners, council tenants and businesses including Starbucks, Café Nero, and POD, a vape store.

Our Role

The project was delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown of 2020.

Acting as principal contractors we our focus was on not only our quality of work, time management and client satisfaction but also our stakeholder management. For example: During excavation work we uncovered an existing foundation that ran tight to a large block of residential flats. The existing foundation needed to be mechanically removed and re-poured as it was not deemed fit for purpose – a very disruptive procedure. The stakeholders were given at least two weeks’ notice prior to the works commencing and received daily updates on progress.

Unfortunately for some residents, the deployment of an 8t excavator with breaker attachment proved too much, especially during lockdown. A meeting was arranged between our project team and the affected stakeholders where it was agreed that we would put measures in place to accommodate the residents confined to their properties due to the COVID-19 restrictions. These included:

• Prior to works we added an acoustic blanket to the breaker attachment and further acoustic barriers were attached to Heras fencing panels to create an acoustic compound. This action reduced the initial decibels outside the compound by around 15db.
• Working hours on this area were reduced to 10am – 2pm
• Instead of using one excavator we would double this and committed to completing the works in five days rather than the 10 stated (we actually completed in four days).

Due to the high vehicle traffic and anti-social behaviour in the area, it was crucial for Whitfield Gardens to be safely accessible for logistical purposes. To achieve this, we fully hoarded the site and enforced a local road closure. The road closure supported our one-way system for deliveries/collections, the exit being on to the busy Tottenham Court Road, with heavy traffic and a busy pedestrian footpath. All exiting vehicles required the deployment of scissor barriers to halt pedestrians, with banksmen at both sides. To ensure the success of traffic flow, we inspected the traffic diversion signs both morning and night as vandalism was a regular occurrence.

Outcomes

Stakeholder Engagement is vital: Regular communication, mutual resolution to issues and a sense of stakeholder ‘buy-in’ create a sense of ownership and pride in the project amongst the local community for whom it’s ultimately for.

Busy city-centre sites have issues beyond the physical delivery of the project: Vandalism and anti-social behaviour is, unfortunately, part of the day-to-day management of such a scheme and each site comes with its own issues.

Life has to go on: Residents need to access their homes and businesses still need to trade. At Whitfield Gardens we successfully designed our site logistics plan to accommodate the local shops, businesses and residents; all managing to work and live side-by-side.