Bernie Spain Gardens

Like an oasis at the heart of the neighbourhood, Bernie Spain Gardens is enjoyed by local residents, local employees as well as the thousands of visitors to the area.

Named after Bernadette Spain, a local campaigner on health and housing provisions for the area’s residents in the 1980s, the gardens are owned, managed and maintained by Coin Street Community Builders.

Planned upgrade

The gardens have not had a major upgrade since they were created in 1988. To maintain this important, well-used and loved local amenity, improvements are taking place.

View the proposals to re-landscape Bernie Spain Gardens north and riverside here.

Planning applications have been submitted to Lambeth and Southwark Councils to re-landscape the north park and an area between the former Television Centre and the Riverside Walkway. The application also includes proposals for a bridge to provide a day time link between the Oxo courtyard and the re-landscaped gardens.

The proposals include a wider variety of trees and new ‘pollinator’ flower beds to create year-round colour and interest; new lawns, seating and lighting; and facilities for a head gardener, deputy head gardener, trainees and volunteer gardeners.

Consultation and design brief

Since 2016 we have consulted locally about our aspirations to improve Bernie Spain Gardens. Using responses from consultation meetings and a survey of users (report here) we developed a design brief for a high quality and sustainable open green spaces.

In 2017 a landscape design competition was launched for the north part of the gardens. During 2018 detailed design work was undertaken with  further consultation with public exhibitions in March and November. At the same time, with help from community volunteers, we improved the planting in the south part of the Gardens. Scroll down for more information.

Design competition

Five landscape architects were commissioned to take part in the design competition, and in March 2018, we consulted on their design proposals. West 8’s ‘pollinator garden’ was the design that had the greatest public support and was also chosen as the winner by the competition selection panel.

Since then Coin Street and West 8 have refined the brief in the light of comments made by the public and the selection panel. A design team which includes engineers, soil and tree specialists, a bee expert and a security adviser, has been working on the design.

Reference group

A reference group of local residents has reviewed the plans as they have been developed. Sustainability is key and we have been working on a detailed management and maintenance strategy for the Gardens.

More on the design competition & winner West 8

West 8’s ‘pollinator garden’ was selected the winner of the design competition, announced on 10 May 2018. West 8 was one of five shortlisted competition entrants, the others being Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape, J & L Gibbons, Kinnear Landscape Architects (KLA), and Reynolds Design – see all the proposals below.

The winning design

West 8’s design features two illustrious pollinator gardens at its heart enclosed by an intimate garden-like setting complete with a custom-designed gardener’s pavilion. The ‘pollinator gardens’ feature an abundance of nectar and pollen-rich flowers. Creating the ideal habitat for foraging, shelter and nesting for birds, bees, butterflies and moths throughout the seasons. With spectacular colourful and scented floral displays, the garden features native floral diversity and provides a valuable resource for declining pollinator populations, currently at risk due to habitat loss, introduced diseases, pesticide poisoning, and pollution. It will be here that residents, workers and visitors can spend time and interact with nature.

Read the news story from May 2018 here.

West 8 was one of five landscape architect teams shortlisted.  All five teams presented their design proposals at a public meeting and exhibition in March 2018. Feedback and comments gathered were supplied to the selection panel.  See all five proposals on the links below.

Bradley-Hole Schoenaich

J & L Gibbons

Kinnear Landscape Architects (KLA)

Reynolds Design

West 8

For more information please email Louise King.

Makeover of south part of gardens

The southern part of the gardens is also getting a mini-makeover. We have been working with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) and Idverde to replant the flower bed on the eastern edge of the gardens with hundreds of bulbs and plants. The new planting provides seasonal colour throughout the year and the plants have been selected to attract pollinators (eg butterflies) and other wildlife.

Get gardening

Love the gardens and fancy some gardening? We run gardening activities at Bernie Spain Gardens and elsewhere locally. To get involved in our Gorgeous Gardens gardening sessions please get in touch with Laura on 020 7021 1600 or for further information. Open to all regardless of age or ability.