This is a cluster of new pocket parks that were created as part of the Nine Elms property developments and are fortunately much more appealing than the ghastly marketing language that’s been used by Ballymore to describe them.
In the centre of the development is The Linear Park, which eventually will be a 1km long line of parks running from Vauxhall station to the estate, and, apparently on to Battersea Power Station. Although unless something is about to be demolished, it’s difficult to see how the park reaches westward from Embassy Gardens to Battersea. It’s much easier to see how it will reach Vauxhall though, and what they’ve built is rather nice.
At the moment there are two patches of pocket park, one a large sunken lawn surrounded by seating benches and an assumption that the stone walkway around the edges will be used as well on dry days.
There’s an elm tree in the lawn, which a sign notes is one of nine that have been planted in the park for the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, although they were planted after she died, so they could have changed the signs to memoriums. Still, Nine Elms once again has nine elms. The sunken lawn is also lined on several sides by bedding plants that’ll look a lot better once they have bedded in next year.
Next to the lawn is something arguably more appealing to look at, if not to sit in, a large pond.
There’s a rough walkway around the edges that’s just rough enough to make you careful when walking along it, which is actually quite a good thing as even kids are unlikely to run. All around the edges are water plants, but running through the middle is a stepping stone path to get across if you don’t want to use the nearby roads.
Rather nicely, the pond is on two levels, given a shallow but wide waterfall at one end of the pond. If you’re so minded, the pond also creates good reflections of the US Embassy building.
The Linear Park is promoted by Ballymore as being a route for cyclists, which I would be very wary of as the paths are nothing like wide enough for sharing with pedestrians, and with cafes outside on the pavements and kids running around, it’s an accident waiting to happen.
Ballymore’s hyperactive marketing person has been on the pills though, describing the space as ” redefines what an urban park can be in the 21st Century,” and while appealing, it’s not substantively different from other modern parks to justify that marketing rubbish.
Around the corner is The Ravine, which Ballymore says is “ideal for an Instagram photo shoot” and “ravine /rəˈviːn/ – even the name sounds romantic”, although the marketing idiot who wrote those slogans will be distressed to learn that on my visit, the Ravine was occupied by a couple sipping coffee and chatting – no contorted photo poses or romance going on.
Away from marketing wank, the ravine is more of a shallow depression, and being surrounded by tall modern buildings lacks the rich overgrown canyon you might be hoping for.
If anything, it felt less ravine than Japanese, especially with the small corten steel lamps and the oversized zen garden style stones.
It’s quite appealing but needed to be deeper and maybe in a decade or so it’ll be nicely overgrown and tall trees shading it from the neighbours.
Overall, the parks are pleasant spaces, if only the property developer’s marketing people could lay off whatever drugs they are taking when describing them.
This article was published on ianVisits
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