The transformation of a historic alleyway in Southwark was celebrated this month after the walkway was given a sustainable makeover.
Keppel Row links the borough’s Southwark Bridge Road and Great Guildford Street, and now includes rain gardens, improved accessibility, and a new public art work in the form of a golden figure that watches over the passageway created by artist Marian Grolmus.
Southwark Council worked with non-profit organisation Better Bankside, as well as residents and businesses in the area to deliver the street improvements, with funding from the mayor’s Air Quality Fund, Greener City Fund, and the developers of 61 Southwark Street.
The project started with work by the Environmental Research Team at King’s College that revealed people were exposed to 25% less air pollution when walking on Keppel Row and America Street, compared to walking on Southwark Street.
Keppel Row has been resurfaced with a water permeable treatment, allowing rain water to pass through into a tank system below, reducing the rate of rain water run-off and risk of surface water flooding, and also features timber sleeper edging referencing the nearby railway viaduct.
The council’s cabinet member for environment, transport and air quality, Councillor Richard Livingstone, recently joined Donald Hyslop, chair of Better Bankside, and residents and workers from the area to celebrate the changes at Keppel Row.
Livingstone said: “Keppel Row is an excellent example of how we can all work together to transform uninviting spaces into accessible and welcoming environments for pedestrians; offering cleaner air, sustainable drainage, public art and some welcome greenery, all away from busy A roads.
“I look forward to collaborating on the next phase of this project and taking what we’ve learned here to Borough High Street.”
"We've already surpassed one degree of global warming," said Kristen Buida, manager of the London Climate Change Partnership.