Hackney council is offering residents the chance to design their own ‘parklets’ to replace parking spaces on their streets.A trial scheme, launched today, will support the installation of 15 parklets across the London borough. The trials will run from one to six months, after which the council will decide whether to make the parklets permanent.
Each parklet will occupy a single parking space, with the design determined by residents. Features could include planters, bike racks, benches, notice boards and games.
Entries will be judged on the feasibility of the idea and level of support from residents, said the council. The deadline for applications is 26 August.
Residents will be able to submit applications for additional parklets – the number has yet to be announced – later in the year.
The council is offering successful applicants grants of up to £150 towards the cost of creating their parklets. Residents will have to cover any additional costs themselves, and will also be responsible for maintaining the parklet.
The trial was launched today with a roadshow on Broadway Market showcasing two parklets, one of which was created by Hackney resident and People’s Parking Bay campaigner and Brenda Puech (pictured above far right).
Last year Puech contacted Hackney council to request an annual parking permit, as she wanted to install a bench, cycle stands and plants in the bay outside her home.
Her request was turned down by the authority, which said the permit could only be used for parking a vehicle. This led to Puech organising a ‘direct action’ event, transforming the space outside her home into a ‘people parking bay’.
Since then, the council appears to have warmed to the idea, with a range of different parklets being showcased in Shoreditch on Car Free Day last September.
Then, at the Hackney Cycling Conference in May, Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville paid tribute to Brenda Puech and her “guerilla parklets”, and announced the roll-out of parklets.
Puech told Local Transport Today: “This is excellent news and huge step forward in reclaiming kerbside space for people to use for imaginative community uses.
“Hackney is living up to its reputation as a progressive and forward-thinking council and I am delighted that they are taking this radical initiative – a first in the UK – to allow residents to apply for uses within parking bays that are more than just car storage. This could be transformative for our streets, as non-car uses are permitted on the kerbside normally reserved exclusively for cars.
“I look forward to seeing creative Hackney residents applying for spaces for seating, plants and flowers, play areas, chilling out space, art work, wi-fi hubs, cycle parking – the options are endless.”
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Deputy Mayor of Hackney, said: “We’re delighted to deliver on our commitment to residents to launch a residential parklets scheme. This is in line with the ambition in our Liveable Neighbourhoods Plan to make sure that by 2025, Hackney has the most liveable and sustainable neighbourhoods and streets in London.
“Only 35% of households in Hackney own a car. Our parklets scheme will help reclaim our streets from the car and open up spaces to the whole community. By encouraging local people to join forces and host their own parklets, they will not only be able to make their street a better place, but work with their neighbours in the process. I can’t wait to see the ideas we get, and look forward to visiting the finished parklets.”
Find out more about parklets at Healthy Streets