In 1984 the site consisted of derelict buildings and temporary car parks. The old buildings were demolished – apart from Oxo Tower Wharf, the South Bank riverside was completed, and a new park was laid out between Stamford Street and the river. These new facilities, together with Gabriel’s Wharf, were opened to the public in 1988.
Subsequently, in partnership with South Bank Employers’ Group, Coin Street Community Builders has improved the sub-structure, surfaces and lighting of the riverside walkway; restricted traffic and widened pavements along Upper Ground – South Bank’s ‘spine route’; improved the route from Waterloo Station to the National Theatre. In the next few years Coin Street Community Builders is planning a new town square by Waterloo Bridge (as part of the Doon Street development).
The quality of all public realm is substantially dependent on its management and maintenance. To collect the litter, maintain the grass and trees, tend flowerbeds, and look after furniture and lighting, Coin Street Community Builders employs a contractor to deliver this service, supported by 24 hour security.
Management and maintenance of public areas are expensive, particularly because the neighbourhood has become so popular. The opening of Oxo Tower Wharf to the public in 1996 increased substantially the number of people visiting the area and, in 2000, the year in which the London Eye and Tate Modern opened, litter collected from Coin Street Community Builders’ public areas trebled! We are currently engaging in discussions about the proposed Garden Bridge and using our influence to ensure that there is a proper maintenance and operations plan. We would also have to increase our own cleaning, management and maintenance resources to cope with the increased numbers of people attracted to the area by the bridge if it goes ahead.
The cost of everyday management and maintenance of these areas is funded by Coin Street Community Builders from its commercial income.