Lesnes to Crossness Phase 1,


Client: Peabody Trust
Stakeholders: Greater London Authority; LB Bexley; Trust Thamesmead
Team: Civic Engineers, civils; Studio Dekka, lighting; Complete Ecology, biodiversity; Frankham Group, costing and CDMC
Programme: 2013-15
Stages: 1-6
Contract: JCT Intermediate IC11
Contractor: Blakedown Landscapes SE
Value: £850k

Client and key stakeholders (Peabody, GLA and LB Bexley) identified a central section of Untitled Practice’s Lesnes to Crossness masterplan for implementation as the project’s Phase 1. The north end of Abbey Way, beside Southmere Lake, was degraded and lacking in purpose and identity.

UP proposed the extension and re-formation of the north end of Abbey Way embankment, to define a new public square where it meets the lake, creating a meaningful relationship between these major features of the local landscape infrastructure. Crushed concrete from a nearby redevelopment site was recycled as fill material to create a new land form and public space.

Southmere Square is addressed by a terraced lawn and framed with seating to support events, with the lake as a back-drop. New ramps and steps improve access along Abbey Way. Natural play is provided. Amenity grassland has been converted to meadow, and 2,000 whips and 30 EHS / semi-mature trees were planted to improve biodiversity. The project also includes rain garden and wet swale SUDS facilities to manage surface water.

The first two of 12 bespoke milestones way-marking the route between the heritage assets of Lesnes Abbey ruins and Crossness Pumping Station were installed. These faceted stone boulders appear as erratic outwash in the valley floor, providing informal seating at key meeting points.

See under Journal for a time-lapse film of this project's construction.

(Photos by UP and Barry Willis).