Connecting Colliers Wood

Public realm enhancements to strengthen connectivity and local identity

Our public realm improvements in Colliers Wood Town Centre create a sense of arrival and celebrate local identity through a series of interventions addressing routes to the high street and re-establishing the presence of River Wandle and Wandle Park.




Colliers Wood High Street is a major arterial road into London. Large, out-of-town retail developments with no street frontage had fragmented the high street, making it inhospitable for pedestrians and cyclists. Drawing on site assets and challenges, this scheme delivers streetscape improvements in the form of street furniture, lighting and hard and soft landscaping to encourage street activity.

Working with Gort Scott, the project harnesses the power of creating a new public realm, designed around people, to give a new identity to what would have been considered a ‘non-place’

Paul McGarry, Head of Future Merton

Gort Scott worked closely with TfL to rebalance the road-use in favour of pedestrians and cyclists, providing new routes between the high street, River Wandle and Wandle Park to foster connectivity across the fragmented town centre.

Colliers Wood has a rich local identity that includes the Arts and Crafts heritage of William Morris and William de Morgan, the historic charcoal burning of the colliers, and the riverine environment of the Wandle Valley. Charred timber cobbles reference the charcoal burning, while the iridescent tiles referenced the Art and Crafts heritage. Wandle print ‘wood block’ style bespoke benches were developed in collaboration with a local artist to further celebrate this Arts and Crafts heritage and champion creative practices that still exist in the area. The planting palette responds to the Arts and Crafts heritage of the site and the riverine environment of the River Wandle.

The unique materiality has been embraced by residents, strengthening local identity and has informed later streetscape interventions delivered by LB Merton.

This project has helped change perceptions of Colliers Wood, from a forgotten out-of-town centre, to a genuine place with a balanced sense of urbanity, nature and human-scale public realm.

Paul McGarry, Head of Future Merton

Further information

Data

Location
Colliers Wood, LB Merton
Project type
Public and civic
Budget
£850,000
Floor area
16000m2

Credits

Clients
Greater London Authority, London Borough of Merton
Gort Scott Team
Jay Gort, Fiona Scott, Susie Hyden
Collaborators
Ashley McCormick (artist), JCLA (landscape architect), Civic Engineers (structural engineer), FM Conway (main contractor)
Photographer
Jakob Spriesterbach

Awards

  • NLA Public Spaces, 2018, Commendation

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