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Community parklets: Locals invited to apply as council reopens trial programme

The popular community parklet on Colvestone Crescent. Photograph: Hackney Council

More community parklets are set to pop up around Hackney after the council announced it has reopened applications for its trial programme.

Residents are invited to come up with their own ideas for the mini-parks, which replace a parking bay, to add to the six already in place across the borough.

The parklet idea was championed by Living Streets campaigner Brenda Puech, who set up her own People’s Parking Bay in 2017 despite the council refusing her application for a permit.

Double mellow: visitors relax at Brenda Puech’s People’s Parking Bay in 2017.
Photograph: Brenda Puech

The Town Hall said at the time: “Where there is oversupply of parking we will happily look to see if this a better use for precious public space, but believe that it’s best to make sure that the views of all local residents and businesses are taken into account when deciding how to use our streets.”

It has since gone on to create its own pilot programme, and people across the borough can now get involved before applications close on 15 September.

The parklet on Princess May Road.
Photograph: Hackney Council

The council has provided some starting suggestions for residents wondering what to feature in their parklets – planters, benches, games, or notice boards – and successful applicants will be able to access grants of up to £250 to help with the cost of setting one up.

The Town Hall’s transport and public realm chief Cllr Jon Burke said: “Only 30 per cent of households in Hackney own a car, yet the kerbside is dominated by them.

“This has to change if we’re to slow the worst effects of global warming, reduce pollution-related deaths, and rebalance our roads to ensure pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport users remain at the very top of our movement hierarchy.

“We were elected on an ambitious manifesto to make Hackney a more liveable borough. Community parklets are an excellent way of achieving this by allowing residents to reclaim their streets and make them greener and more pleasant.”

“As part of our parklets trial, I am also working with council officers on incorporating play into parklets and creating a playlets programme, so we can make our streets better for children’s play.”

Malvern Road’s parklet is a community herb garden. Photograph: Hackney Council

The council has been widely praised on social media for its announcement, including from Puech herself, who said it was “great news” and urged residents to apply.

The team behind Colvestone Parklet tweeted to say they “highly recommend taking part”, adding: “The community parklet has been a wonderful addition to Colvestone Crescent (if we may say so ourselves), and an opportunity to showcase and enjoy an alternative use of public space.”

According to the Hackney Council, successful parklets will be in place for one year initially so that their effects can be judged.

The most effective and well-used parklets will have the opportunity of becoming permanent, pending consultation with local residents.

For more information about parklets, and to find out how to apply for one, head to hackney.gov/parklets



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