A revamp of a once-neglected Georgian garden square in Barnsbury, Islington, by LDA Design, has been named the overall winner of the Children’s Play category in this year’s Street Design Awards.
 
The award was presented to Islington Council in Milner Square by Local Government News Editor, Laura Sharman, with Councillor Webbe, Islington’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport in attendance.
 
Milner Square was in dire need of restoration, with aged play equipment that was inaccessible for year-round use, surfacing was uneven and planting sparse. As a result, the gardens had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.
For a relatively compact area, the Square had been heavily sub-divided, with fencing carving out three separate spaces for different play agesLDA Design’s plan removed this fencing, replacing it with careful zoning and inviting new paths. This move opened up the park, improving accessibility. Greater visibility also reduced the risk of anti-social behaviour.
 
The scheme has increased the available green space, and the diversity and quality of the planting. A greater variety of play is now on offer, appealing to a wider age group.
 
Commenting on the award, LDA Design Senior Consultant, Tom McCreesh, said:
“If garden squares are to deliver for their communities and encourage people to spend more time outdoors, they have to feel safe and inviting. Then they can be a real source of pleasure and great places to get to know the neighbours.”
 
On presenting the award, Laura Sharman, Editor of Local Government News, said:
“I am delighted to name Islington Council as the winner of the Children’s Play category in our Street Design AwardsThe judges were extremely impressed by the scheme, which was praised for its remarkable transformation of a valuable community space.”