James Clark of Malmesbury Residents Association writes:
Malmesbury Residents Association continues an ambitious project to transform its estate into a green paradise in the heart of Tower Hamlets. The Association completed its biggest project in March, thankfully before COVID-19 made community gatherings impossible!
It transformed a community square by Ambrose Walk, near Tom Thumbs Arch and Bow Road Station. This square was identified as a priority for improvement as it was barren, comprising mainly tarmac and a small amount of grass. Kids made limited but creative use of the space in the summer by drawing play markings such as hopscotch on the tarmac.
The Association raised a total of around £40,000 for the project and the largest chunk of cash came from the Veolia Trust. In one weekend in middle of March, residents and helpers from all over East London (including AgeUK East London, Co-op and Tower Hamlets Council) came to help plant up the 39 fruit and nut trees, 73 fruit bushes, 12 fruiting climbers, 1,200 herbaceous plants and a large wildflower meadow.
The planting itself was inspired by the bright and colourful local fruit stalls on Roman Road and aims to bring residents together in enjoying watching the garden grow and sharing the harvest. It was essential the planting created new habitats for wildlife such as birds and bees.
Making best use of the funding raised, and ensuring as much on site could find a new life in the square, railings were turned on their side and repurposed as trellis for climbing plants, and paving slabs were lifted and repositioned to create walkways and stepping stones through the new planting.
This project could not have been realised without tremendous input from the local community, and Malmesbury Residents Association appreciates support from a wide range of organisations, such as the Veolia Trust and Tower Hamlets Homes.
The project follows the Association’s earlier greening schemes at Tom Thumb’s Arch and on the corner of Guerin Square, both completed in 2019. All three projects make a significant contribution to the Loca Biodiversity Action Plan.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “This is a great result from a community group who showed vision and determination to improve their estate by creating a lovely green and colourful space. I hope the new trees will provide fruit and improved air quality for many years to come. I’m confident this will improve the lives of local residents and we will continue to support MRA to make their estate a better place to live.”
Photos: Malmesbury Residents Association