Double mellow: visitors relax at Brenda Puech’s now-removed parklet in 2017. Photograph: Brenda Puech

Communities are being urged to celebrate parklife – on a small scale.

Hackney campaigner Brenda Puech is launching London’s first ever People Parking Day on 25-26 September.

She is encouraging people to sit down and have a chat in a parking space on their streets.

The London Parklet Campaign has teamed up with Living Streets London, IBikeLondon and residents to put on a series of events.

These include a community fitness session in London Fields and a ‘Tour de Parklets du Nord’ for families to enjoy a bike ride visiting parklets in Hackney and Islington.

It starts at 2pm on Saturday from 45 St Paul Street in St Peter’s, Islington.

There’s also a community board game in Islington on Sunday.

The event follows World Car Free Day and is one of thousands of green events in the run-up to the environmental summit for world leaders in November.

Puech reclaimed a parking space near her Hackney home in 2017 when she was recovering from a road accident.

She set up a space near London Fields and put down some artificial grass, a bench, flower pots, and a sign reading ‘You’re welcome to park yourself on the bay’.

However, it fell foul of council rules and was removed.

Puech said after the pandemic, during which roads across the city have been transformed and the capitla has embraced al fresco “streeteries”, pocket parklets could play a part in making London more people-friendly.

“I think it is absolutely time for them,” she said, and called on councils to make it easier to create them.

“When I was doing mine you had to get all your neighbours to agree.”

People relaxing in a community parklet. Photograph: People Parking Day

She added that too many spaces on streets are taken up by cars which are barely used.

People who signed visitor books at her pocket parklet told her how much they enjoyed it.

“They left messages saying they could not walk long distances, joggers were using it to sit down and have a rest,” she explained. “A lot of people use them when they are walking to and fro with shopping.”

The benefits include greening up the environment with more planters and fewer cars on the streets.

She added: “I want every Londoner whether they own a car or not to have access to these public spaces. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a private garden so providing social spaces close to people’s homes is essential.

“We can really improve our environment and wellbeing if we reclaim these areas as spaces to sit and socialise, and make London the parklet capital of the world.”

Find out more at londonparkletscampaign.wordpress.com

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