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A Bluebell Railway for Bankside?

A new 100m2 green roof planted with over 1000 bluebell bulbs, 15 species of native wild flowers and a range of ferns and ivy has been planted on Flat Iron Square. It brings a little bit of woodland wildlife into the heart of Bankside Urban Forest
Valerie Beirne
Bankside Urban Forest Manager
  • The newly planted green roof on Flat Iron Square
    The newly planted green roof on Flat Iron Square
  • The newly planted green roof on Flat Iron Square June 2014
    The newly planted green roof on Flat Iron Square June 2014
Key Partners: 
Better Bankside, Design for London, Southwark Council, Greater London Authority, Green Roof Consultancy

If you find yourself passing by a sea of bluebells on the train between Waterloo East, Blackfriars and London Bridge stations, chances are you're passing by Flat Iron Square. Over 100m2 of green roof has been planted here in the heart of Bankside on top of a specially commissioned timber structure which wraps around the Island Cafe.  The roof has been planted with a wide range of native wild flowers including over 1000 bluebell bulbs and at least 15 different species of wild flowers .

The green roof was commissioned as part of a wider programme of works to improve the local environment of Flat Iron Square through the Bankside Urban Forest initiative.  In 2011 the first phase of the improvements in Flat Iron Square, designed by Witherford Watson Mann Architects and implemented by JB Riney were formally launched by Munira Mirza, the Mayor of London's Cultural Advisor.  Since then the improved public space has been used for a wide range of activities including the innovative Union Press temporary creative commission last summer.

The new green roof will provide a valuable learning resource for a wide range of people, including landowners and developers who may be considering installing green roofs on their buildings.  It demonstrates how a green roof can accomodate a wide range of species of plants, and can contribute to improving the local environment and support biodiversity and wildlife. 

A recent Green Infrastructure audit undertaken by the Ecology Consultancy for Better Bankside highlighted the potential there is in Bankside to retrofit green roofs on to existing flat roofs on buildings in the area.  It is estimated that an area equivalent of over 10 football pitches that could be greened in this way.    Better Bankside is currently looking for other roofs within the neighbourhood which could accomodate a green roof.  If you are a building owner interested in finding out more - please vb [at]">get in touch to see how we can help.

Feb 20 2013