This patch of London is facing unique challenges today, and indeed will do for many years. So, with the drastic impact of HS2 now hitting home, it’s good to know there are some positive projects underway that are determined to counteract some of the disruption.
Among the most exciting is the Euston Green Link – a creative and environmentally-focused walking route between Regent’s Park and Euston Station that is part-funded by the Mayor of London’s Low Emission Neighbourhood Fund.
It’s a project with admirably far-reaching goals. Not only will it see welcome investment in the greening of the neighbourhood, it will also use public art that reflects issues faced by the local community, whilst considering health and economic sustainability.
“Our focus is threefold,” says Georgie Street, Euston Green Link project manager from the business champions Euston Town. “We want to uncover and protect Euston’s identity, react to the local air quality emergency, and create the best possible outcome from HS2 for our local communities.”
“We believe HS2 presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for positive development – if it is done right. Surrounding communities are the essence of Euston and they must be preserved. In the face of hoardings, building sites and vehicles cluttering the streets, we need to find ways to create beautiful public space and attract new footfall to the area. The Euston Green Link is one of our plans to mitigate the project’s negative effects where we can.”Key to this project is the support it will offer to businesses. Large buildings, once containing valued customers, now stand empty, braced for the wrecking ball (including the Thistle and Ibis hotels, and Grant Thornton and Jestico + Whiles offices), and the drop in footfall is really starting to bite. But this scheme will see green infrastructure, planters and public art commissions creating their own miniature destinations and attracting new visitors to explore the area.
They will encourage new conversations about the history of Euston, and spark passionate discussions about its future. Locally-based design agencies are considering creative signage and innovative green infrastructure.
“This is not a route for a specific audience,” says Georgie, of the project’s objective to be an asset to locals as much as it aims to bring in new city explorers. “It aims to attract visitors, residents and employees to explore the Euston Green Link, and eventually reach the beautiful Regent’s Park.”As Euston Town strike up a partnership with environmental campaigners Hubbub, they aim to have some direct engagement with local residents on the project, and the broader air quality agenda. They want to break down the notion that the park is only a visitor attraction, and promote it as a local asset, and an increasingly important one at that.
As the Euston Green Link takes off, we’ll see exciting projects that aim to boost both the physical and mental wellbeing of locals. As the heartbreaking felling of mature trees in Euston Gardens continues, it brings solace to know that the future of this urban jungle won’t just be about concrete and steel.
“The Euston Green Link is about bringing stakeholders together as they are bound by a shared concern for the area they love,” says Simon Pitkeathley, CEO of Euston Town. “It has huge potential to help prepare both businesses and residential communities for the future, and preserve the area’s wonderful identity. Initiatives like this are essential if we are to truly benefit from major developments.”
Main photo: Dan Hall