Camden’s green garden in the sky took a step closer to reality after charity Camden Highline was given the go-ahead for the first stage of a project that will transform a section of disused Victorian railway into an overhead park.
Garden designer Piet Oudolf, working with the London Wildlife Trust, is leading the design and creation of the biodiverse walkway, which will stretch for 1.2km and connect Camden Town and King’s Cross.
The walkway will provide access to a number of neighbourhoods along the way and is part of the Camden Green Loop initiative, a project which aims to make inner-London greener while connecting Camden, King’s Cross and Euston to their surrounding neighbourhoods.
The approval will allow construction of the project’s first section, which is expected to open in 2025 and will connect Camden Gardens to Royal College Street.
Section two will extend east to Camley Street, and section three will end at York Way, although the charity has given no forecast for the completion of these subsequent sections.
Each of the project’s three sections will offer visitors access to unique wildlife, greenery, attractions and activities, all inspired by the English countryside and coloured by Camden’s culture: from volunteer allotments and outdoor classrooms to diverse flowerbeds and access to unique views over the historic Victorian site.
Construction is expected to create 316 new jobs, of which 116 will be long-term roles, while providing access to local green space for an estimated 20,000 people and £10.9m of health and wellbeing benefits over its lifetime.
Lead architect Tatiana von Preussen said: “A small section of it threads through the private residences of Camden but the longest part of it serves a number of housing estates and parts of London which don’t currently have any access to local green space”.
According to Future Parks Accelerator, 39 per cent of Camden residents have no access to private green space, with lack of access being one of the main barriers for residents accessing any green space at all.
The Camden Highline charity is now seeking donors to raise the £14m required for construction of the first section.