West Croydon station: fast-track the feelgood factor…

By - Tuesday 31st October, 2017

…with this green-fingered community garden initiative

Photo author’s own

If you’ve passed through West Croydon train station recently, you may have noticed some changes on the platforms. Friends of West Croydon Station Energy Garden – a group of local volunteers – is working with Croydon Transition Town, Broad Green Residents Association and other community organisations, to bring an energy garden to Croydon.

Communities across London are transforming overground stations into energy gardens that combine flowers and edible plants with renewable energy. The scheme also provides paid internships for young people and a programme of workshops for local schools.

Photo author’s own

So far at West Croydon we have installed large planters on both platforms, created two insect hotels and planted a living wall. Insect hotels offer refuge and shelter to a variety of beneficial insects. Living walls improve air quality, reduce noise pollution and help to keep their surroundings cooler in summer. And plants and flowers… well, we think they’re pretty! Also in the pipeline are plans for a rain-harvesting system to make watering easier and climbing plants to trail up the fence on platform 4.

But we want more! We want beautiful crocuses from Croydon Saffron Central. We want to showcase the industrial history of the station and the surrounding area. And we want to spread outside the station confines into London Road and the new bus station, and along the parade of shops in Station Road so that everyone can benefit – not just commuters.

Photo author’s own

It’s going to be fun and exciting, but we need YOU!

You could join the rota of volunteers that ensure the plants are kept watered and healthy. Or be one of the team of commuters who keep an eye on the plants as they pass through the station and report any problems to us. But, most of all, we need your ideas and feedback and enthusiasm. If this is a project that you would like to see happen, we need you to get involved.

You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter or send us an email at wcenergygarden@gmail.com. Don’t be shy, we’re a friendly, welcoming bunch!

Vanessa Nicholson

Vanessa Nicholson

Vanessa Nicholson has lived in Central Croydon for over 25 years. She still mourns the loss of Turtles, Beanos and The Water Palace. She shakes her head in bewilderment at some of the decisions taken by the Council - spending £450 million on its new office, building an incinerator at Beddington Lane, closing down the David Lean Cinema and selling off the Riesco Collection to mention just a few. But... she enjoys discovering the unexpected side of Croydon - the view from the terrace at Heathfield House or from the viewing platform at Addington Hills, Coombe Wood Gardens, the Whitgift Almshouses... and she loves the tenacity, ingenuity and spirit of Croydon’s inhabitants - RISE Gallery, Matthew's Yard, Lives Not Knives, Croydon Radio, the allotments at Wandle Park, the successful campaign to save the David Lean Cinema and many more.

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  • Malcolm Bell

    Great article Vanessa.
    I must echo the point that the 8 planters, and the green wall are just the start. There is so much underused space at the station where we hope to put more planters, water butts and hopefully start an edible garden on the platform….and working with Broad Green Residents Association and Croydon Transition Town, we hope to start some projects creating more green space outside the station.
    We have only recently set up the Friends of West Croydon Station Energy Garden group, and we are looking for more people to get involved both with the group, and helping out water and planting at the station. So please do get in touch.

  • Vanessa Nicholson

    I should have mentioned in the article that the Energy Gardens project is funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery and is being delivered by Groundwork, Repowering London and TfL.