London Road’s Green Mile links West Croydon to Thornton Heath – with flowers

By - Monday 19th March, 2018

An inspiring community initiative to take care of London Road

Photo by Malcolm Bell, used with permission.

On Sunday 4th March, London Road’s Our Green Mile project was launched with a ceremony to plant the first planter outside West Croydon station. This was followed by a procession along London Road, giving out leaflets and talking to people about the project, and also litter picking in the area. A second planter was then put in place at Thornton Heath Pond.

Our Green Mile is a community-led project to improve the public realm by creating a ‘green corridor’ linking West Croydon station’s Energy Garden and Thornton Heath Pond with planters, trees and hanging baskets at appropriate locations. It is led by Broad Green Residents’ Association (BGRA) in partnership with the Friends of West Croydon Station Energy Garden (WCSEG) and Thornton Heath Community Action Team (THCAT). Local councillor Stuart King donated £1,000 of his ward budget to help to launch the project, which will eventually fund 10-15 planters.

Photo by Ally McKinlay, used with permission.

Despite refurbishments to the attractive Victorian buildings that line the southern stretches of London Road, and improvements to shopfronts, it can be hard to create a pleasant environment due to chronic littering, heavy traffic and sections where unsympathetic development has created bleak empty spaces. The new installations will be looked after by local people and . It’s hoped that local schools, businesses, community and faith groups will become involved.

The organisers also hope that community stewardship and fostering local pride may lead to less littering and fly-tipping. The project will also include the creation of street art and signage, which coincides with the launch of the new ‘Historic Broad Green Village’ signage to raise awareness and celebrate the interesting history of the area.

Photo author’s own.

The planters, which will all be painted, are made from discarded wooden pallets by Peter Lawrence, of THCAT, who has already made and installed several across the Thornton Heath area. Michael To (Twitter @DracorumOrder), a London Road resident, has designed the project’s logo. The organisers are very grateful for all of the local support that they have received.

Our Green Mile will also help to improve the local air quality around London Road, and the health and wellbeing of residents, workers and those who use it as a transport route. There is a long-term plan to work with the council to create community gardens and to improve provision of green spaces in Broad Green and surrounding areas.

Plants, trees, flowers and art are a most welcome addition to London Road, and it is also hoped that these improvements will encourage footfall to its many interesting shops, cafés and businesses.

Future fun days and activities are planned, to include painting more planters to be installed on London Road. For up-to-date information, follow Twitter @ourgreenmile. If you live locally and would like to get involved, click .

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Writer and editor. Views personal, not representative of editorial policy.

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  • Friends of Broad Green

    Thanks for the article. A couple of points.

    The Friends of Broad Green (formerly Broad Green Residents Association) committee would like to highlight that the “Village” road signs project is a completely different project to the organisation’s Our Green Mile project, and we have not been involved with the former. We have not seen any evidence Broad Green ever was a village.

    The photo of the planter outside West Croydon Station was taken by our Chair Malcolm Bell

    • lizsheppardjourno

      hi there – thanks for this info: we will adjust the photo credit.

      The article does make clear that Our Green Mile and the ‘historic village’ signage are separate initiatives taking place at the same time.

      The distinctions between villages and hamlets are fascinating (to me!) but judging from social media comment I’ve seen, not to everyone :) At some point, the Broad Green settlement/hamlet/village grew and was absorbed into the spreading town of Croydon. For me, the details are less important than the creation of a sense of history which I believe can give both local pride and a positive sense of identity – two things Broad Green has critically lacked. I would love to learn more about the area’s heritage.

      I wish every success to both initiatives and hope to see real local support on the ground.

      • Friends of Broad Green

        Given your Street Sign photo is being used as the “lead” photo for this article on social media which the title suggests is about our #OurGreenMile project, there could be confusion about the two projects