Emma Cons Gardens - a new public space in the heart of Waterloo

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E M M A C ON S G A R DE N S

A NEW PUBLIC SPACE IN THE HEART OF WATERLOO ENGAGEMENT REPORT OCTOBER 2021


Emma Cons Gardens Steering Group This engagement project was commissioned by the Emma Cons Gardens Steering Group. The Steering Group is made up of key stakeholders representing residents’ groups, business groups and statutory bodies, including the following: South Bank and Waterloo Neighbourhood Forum We Are Waterloo Business Improvement District Bankside Open Spaces Trust Waterloo Community Development Group Bourne Capital (Waterloo Estate) LBL Parks and Regeneration The Old Vic The Young Vic Transport for London Network Rail Lambeth Estate Residents Association New Cut Housing Co-op The Union Jack Club Waterloo Safer Neighbourhood Panel Project Team This engagement project was led by CarverHaggard in collaboration with The Means. This document is intended to offer guidance for future design work at Emma Cons Gardens based on analysis of responses and discussions during the public engagement. It does not cover the economic, technical and policy issues that will need to be balanced to develop a feasible design proposal. CarverHaggard owns the copyright of the original work produced in this project and we generally assert our moral rights to be identified as the author of this work. Every reasonable attempt has been made to credit images correctly. Please contact us if you have any concerns; any error or omission will be corrected in subsequent editions.

Text in the document is generally authored by the project team. In addition, throughout the document, we have included quotes from the engagement process. Where text is formatted in the following way, it is taken from the anonymised results of the engagement process, including the survey responses, focus groups, and workshops.

This is one of the few remaining open spaces in Waterloo. It provides space at a very busy pedestrian junction, and also an opportunity to step back and admire the Old Vic.

© CarverHaggard 2021

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


C ON TE N T S FOREWORD

5

1 OVERVIEW

6

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

2 BACKGROUND

BASELINE INFORMATION

RESPONDENT DEMOGRAPHICS

ENGAGEMENT PROCESS

3 FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS

WHAT IS IT LIKE NOW?

WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED?

USER GROUPS

4

NEXT STEPS

16

26

52

APPENDIX – AVAILABLE SEPARATELY A1 SURVEY RESPONSES A2 REFERENCE SPACES A3 ENGAGEMENT LOG 3


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EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


FOR EWOR D The Steering Group came together around a single purpose; to champion and lead on the refurbishment and revitalisation of Emma Cons Gardens, the central civic space at the heart of Waterloo. We meet regularly, and continue to welcome interested groups. The Gardens lie at the crossroads of the shopping district of Lower Marsh and The Cut. They are outside the UK’s busiest railway station, and they are adjacent to Waterloo’s oldest civic building, the Old Vic. They are used by hundreds of thousands of commuters, visitors, local workers and residents, but they do not currently fulfil their potential. There have been various proposals and improvements over the past twenty years, but the Gardens are capable of being so much more. With a major development coming forward to the north of the Gardens, an opportunity has arisen to fund bold improvements. This could include significant capital investment as well as consideration of measures to ensure the appropriate ongoing management and maintenance of the space. The first action of the Steering Group has been to gather the views and opinions of the many groups who use the Gardens, to find out what sort of Gardens they want to see. In summer 2021, we commissoned CarverHaggard and The Means to find out. The result is this report. The next stage is to bring on board a design team who will use this report as a springboard for ideas to regenerate the Gardens – and will include further opportunities for you to be involved. We hope to submit a planning application in spring 2022. Please tell us what you think of this report, and find out how the project is progressing by going to www.emmacons.com and signing up for updates.

Michael Ball Chair, Emma Cons Gardens Steering Group 5


PART 1 OVE RVIEW

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EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


E X EC U TI V E SUM M ARY In Summer 2021, we carried out a public engagement project, inviting residents, businesses, workers and visitors to share their ideas for a new Emma Cons Gardens. Through in-person conversations, an online survey, and targeted workshops, we have spoken to over 400 people so far. These findings will inform the brief for new designs for the space. Priorities for future use We have identified 5 key shared priorities for Emma Cons Gardens: 1. “Truly Public” – its role as a welcoming public space. 2. “A Green Oasis” – a planted space to relax in. 3. “A place to eat” – supporting outdoor dining. 4. “Enabling Events”– space for daytime events. 5. “Fun but subtle” – integrating playability. Challenges for design and management Underlying these priorities are 3 key challenges: A. Seating. B. Safety. C. Commercial Use. Next steps Resolving these points, through a combination of sensitive design and a coordinated management strategy, will be key to creating and supporting a successful new public space at Emma Cons Gardens. The design process should continue to involve the wider community and to build on this engagement work. Navigating this document A brief summary of all our findings is included on the following pages (pp.8–15). The subsequent pages (pp.16–43) include more detail of the survey and selected illustrative quotes from respondents. Further analysis (pp.44-51) breaks down the findings by the different user groups. Finally the appendix, which is available separately, includes a full transcript of raw data and other reference material. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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What is Emma Cons Gardens like now? Emma Cons Gardens is in the heart of Waterloo but it does not currently fulfil its potential.

OVERVIEW

68% WALK OR CYCLE THROUGH IT

63% LIKE THE TREES AND GREENERY

Respondents suggested that the space is not well used at the moment, with some people feeling unsafe or excluded by anti-social behaviour.

The majority of respondents walk or cycle through Emma Cons Gardens on the way to work or to use amenities, but do not stop to use the space.

Many suggested that it is not a space to stop and rest because of litter and lack of maintenance.

Many respondents commented that they saw the space as an extension of the pavement rather than a public space to stop and use, and were not aware that it had a name.

There are 3 mature London Plane trees on the site. Users appreciated these trees in particular and saw them as the key redeeming feature of the site, providing shade and character.

However, as a well located space serving Waterloo Station to the surrounding area, many noted that it has great potential to be improved.

8

Other more recent planting, such as the palms and Monkey Puzzle tree in the raised planter, were less popular.

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


63% THINK IT FEELS UNLOVED

47% SAID THERE IS NOT ENOUGH SEATING

26% DON’ T USE IT OR AVOID IT

A perceived lack of maintenance and an abundance of litter of the site were the most common observations by respondents, leading to an overall perception that the site is not looked after.

There is no purpose-made public seating in Emma Cons Gardens.

A sizeable minority of respondents, including some local residents, said they avoid the space.

Many also noted the cracked or broken paving, particulary around the trees, and tendency for puddles to form after rain.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

It is common for people to sit on the low wall around the planter if they are able to do so. Many workers and visitors have said they would like free public seating to be installed so that they can have somewhere more comfortable to sit and eat lunch.

This was often accompanied by comments about large groups of people making them feel excluded, or litter making the space feel dirty. Many said that they would use it if the space was improved.

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What do we agree about? We have identified five shared priorities that were points of near consensus between respondents. These themes should form the core brief for future designs for the space.

TRULY PUBLIC

A GREEN OASIS

A PLACE TO EAT

Emma Cons Gardens should be open, accessible and predominantly available for use free of charge. The space is already used by a diverse range of user groups, and should continue to do so. There is significant support for including more public seating from workers eating lunch, residents meeting friends or shoppers taking a break.

Designs for Emma Cons Gardens should enhance its green and planted character to create a space where people can meet and relax, but that is flexible enough to be punctuated by use for performers and events.

Emma Cons Gardens should provide space for people to eat their own food, or perhaps buy something at a cafe or restaurant.

The design and management needs to make sure that this public space can feel safe and welcoming to all.

10

Some respondents said that it is the first space where visitors can stop and find their bearings once they have left Waterloo Station, acting as a remote station forecourt.

In particular, younger respondents and people who work in the area were looking for a place to sit and have lunch.

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


ENABLING EVENTS

FUN BUT SUBTLE

CHALLENGES

Waterloo hosts many theatres and arts organisations and has a proud cultural heritage. The Old Vic faces directly onto Emma Cons Gardens and the Young Vic and National Theatre are nearby.

Play features were lower on many people’s priorities, with only 6% of all respondents initially suggesting a desire to use the space for “play or exercise.”

Alongside these priorities, the survey also identified a number of areas that will need careful consideration alongside these priorities to make the project successful with different stakeholders. See the following pages for suggestions.

With this in mind, many people were keen for Emma Cons Gardens to host small events, music or theatrical performances. Avoiding late-night noise will be important as not to disrupt local residents. However, they were generally supportive of small events during the day.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

However, this has been included as a priority because among schoolaged respondents 63% wanted some sort of play activity as “something to do”. The challenge will be fitting playable activity into the space alongside other uses.

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How do different groups feel about the space? We identified some key differences in priorities between respondents from the different groups that use Emma Cons Gardens. The design and management of the space will need to consider how to balance the needs and wishes of these groups.

RESIDENTS

WORKERS

DAYTIME VISITORS

As people who live in the area near Emma Cons Gardens, their concerns were slightly different to other groups.

Workers in the area prioritised using Emma Cons Gardens as a space to take a break or relax, particularly during lunch breaks or after work.

Day time visitors were particularly looking for a place to rest, with 73% asking for public seating.

Many residents currently experience Emma Cons Gardens as a place where large groups gather at night, after leaving nearby bars and nightclubs. They raised the need for control of potential anti-social behaviour.

This can be seen in their desire for more public seating (68%) and more greenery (68%). Compared to other groups, workers were also looking for more markets and places to buy food.

They were also particularly interested in events that could happen in the space, with 52% saying that they would like to go to a performance or a small event, compared with an average of 22% in other groups. However, the idea of cafe seating was less popular, with some saying that they would prefer a place were they can sit for free, as there are already many places to buy food or drinks in the area.

Perhaps surprisingly, residents were quite keen for Emma Cons Gardens to host small events, although they did raise some concerns about the space becoming too busy.

They do not see it as a social space, with only 14% of respondents saying that would like to meet friends there, compared to an average of 23%.

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EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


EVENING VISITORS

YOUNG PEOPLE

STREET POPULATION

For evening and night time visitors, the most important thing was providing a place to relax, by installing more greenery (81%) and more public seating (90%).

With universities and schools nearby, as well as many businesses, the younger population was more interested in using Emma Cons Gardens as a place to socialise or dine outside, with 33% of respondents wanting to use it as a place to meet friends compared to an average of 22%.

There is a small but significant street population that uses Emma Cons Gardens. They have expressed concerns that they will be marginalised by any development that happens.

For those visiting the theatre, having a place to sit outside and have food or a drink before the show was a priority. However, it should be noted that other user groups were uncomfortable with large groups of people ‘hanging around’ after bars and nightclubs have closed.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

In addition, amongst school aged children, play space was very popular although other users expressed concerns about safety and the use of space.

Many members of the street population share other users’ discomfort with groups of street drinkers. Other users have shown divided opinions regarding this group, with some feeling unsafe around them whilst other are keen to point out that it is a public space that should be available to anyone who wants to use it. 13


How will we balance different priorities ? The survey identified a number of areas where people have very different opinions and concerns. These points will need to be carefully considered alongside the shared priorities to make the project successful with different stakeholders.

A. SEATING

B. SAFETY

C. COMMERCIAL USE

The question of public seating creates strong positive and negative reactions.

17% of respondents made unprompted comments about behaviours that make them feel either unsafe or unwelcome in the space.

There are strong feelings over the appropriate level of revenue-raising activity at Emma Cons Gardens.

Many respondents raised the lack of comfortable seating as a problem, and suggested terraced seating that would encourage free gathering. However, some local residents felt that permanent seating would encourage rough sleeping or anti-social behaviour.

These were predominantly comments about larger groups of street drinkers, delivery riders, or revelers from local bars. To make the space welcoming to all, it will be important to address safety and the perception of safety.

Some people feel strongly about the idea of a public space that everyone can use free of charge at all times, whereas others feel that including some privately managed seating in the space would provide positive surveillance of the space, making it feel safer.

These concerns are interlinked, and could be resolved through a combination of sensitive design and a coordinated strategy of management. While survey respondents might have concerns about an extreme scenario, such as a square filled with restaurant tables at all times, a new Emma Cons Gardens could include a balance of different features and uses at different times of the day, enabled by active “stewardship” of the space. Some commercial use may provide funding to support this in the long term. 14

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


What stories should we tell? Many respondents did not feel that Emma Cons Gardens currently has a distinctive or memorable character. The survey responses included suggestions for themes that could animate the design for a new public space.

CULTURE

NATURE

HISTORY

Emma Cons Gardens could be a permanent celebration of Waterloo’s role in culture and performance.

The inherent natural character of Waterloo, not often visible in the hardlandscaped city, was mentioned as one possible source of inspiration.

Some people suggested commemorating notable characters from the history of the area in the design.

Suggestions included a space that would enable outdoor performances, or a “fourth plinth” for artistic installations.

Suggestions ranged from celebrating the watery nature of Lower Marsh through a drainage rill, including a wildflower meadow or new mini forest, up to ideas referring to a larger cosmic scale.

One suggestion was to draw a parallel between three significant women (Emma Cons, Octavia Hill, and Lilian Baylis) and the three mature trees that animate the space.

Developing one or more of these themes through further engagement may help to accommodate different functional aspects in an elegant way.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

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PART 2 BAC KGROU N D WHAT IS THIS PROJECT ABOUT? Emma Cons Gardens is the public square in front of the Old Vic, at the junction between The Cut and Waterloo Road. Emma Cons Gardens is being reimagined to create a new public space in the heart of Waterloo. A steering group of local organisations has come together to lead this process and is inviting residents, businesses, workers and visitors to share their ideas for a new Emma Cons Gardens. WHAT IS THE SITE LIKE NOW? Emma Cons Gardens is in the heart of Waterloo but it does not currently fulfil its potential. The space has some large trees and is largely paved, with some raised grass beds providing limited facilities compared to other public spaces. Its prominent location links The Cut with Lower Marsh, and forms part of some important walking routes through the area. It sits directly in front of the Old Vic Theatre and across the road from the Millennium Green. WHAT HAS HAPPENED PREVIOUSLY? A number of plans to improve Emma Cons Gardens have been prepared in the past but not implemented. In 2021, a group of local community organisations formed a steering group with the Council to come up with new designs for the square, which would be funded through contributions from local developments. WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING NEARBY? There are a number of plans for the surrounding buildings that will affect Emma Cons Gardens. These include proposals for Mercury House, The Old Vic Annexe, the OCCC Estate, and a new building on the corner of Cornwall Road and the Cut. There are also proposals for improving public spaces nearby including a plan for Millennium Green.

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EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


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rl ate W

New Cut Housing

Road

Mercury House

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To Waterloo Station

Ro ad

Emma Cons Gardens

Fire Station

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152-158 Waterloo Road

To Southwark Station National Theatre Rehearsal Studio

Ba ylis

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The Old Vic

Waterloo Millenium Green

Plan showing Emma Cons Gardens

BACKGROUND

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BASELINE INFORMATION

Emma Cons Gardens may be a relatively small space, but it sits right at the heart of Waterloo and serves a highly diverse community with a wide range of needs. Residents The area surrounding it, shown in green opposite, is home to about 7,000 residents. This population is varied but overall relatively young in comparison to the rest of London and the national average, with a large number of students, young professionals and, to a certain extent, families. Residential users of the space span a range of socio-economic statuses, from the homeless, to social housing tenants, to wealthy central London homeowners. The demographic data presented is a combination of the LSOAs* highlighted in green and white. The green areas represent the ‘core’ immediate vicinity. The white areas represent an extended area of approximately 500m in radius from Emma Cons Gardens, marked in yellow. The core and extended areas together house about 18,000 residents. It should also be noted that there is significant inequality between residents in the area, with the some areas ranked in the 20-30% most deprived areas in the country and other areas in the 10-20% least deprived. The mix of housing stock and tenure also suggests there are also significant differences within each of these areas. Workers Likewise, there are also significant differences between local workers on minimum wage as part of the “gig economy” and more affluent commuters. Waterloo is a significant commercial hub, with the We Are Waterloo BID area home to over 400 offices, 150 retail units, around 70 restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars, and an estimated 10,000 employees. The wider area includes St. Thomas’ Hospital, a major teaching hospital, and part of the King’s College campus. 18

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


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Waterloo

River Thame

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Emma Cons Gardens

Lambeth

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Map showing the location of Emma Cons Gardens and surrounding LSOAs

*A Lower Layer Super Output Area (LSOA) is a small geographical area used in the Census for England and Wales. There are 32,844 LSOAs in England, and they each contain anonymised data for between 1,000 and 3,000 residents living in between 400 and 1,200 households.

BACKGROUND

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BASELINE INFORMATION

For these businesses and staff Emma Cons Gardens is simultaneously a space to commute through, a retreat in which to eat lunch, get a coffee or have a smoke, a concern for anti-social behaviour, a space that is used or could be used by customers, and a connector between important commercial streets. Since the beginning of the pandemic it has become the rest location of choice for delivery riders in the area, for whom it provides a central location from which to work and a place to socialise with other riders. Visitors In addition, Waterloo has a thriving theatrical and artistic scene, home to the Old Vic, the Young Vic, National Theatre Studio, The Vaults, Leake Street, and Waterloo Theatre East amongst others. This, combined with myriad bars, restaurants and cafes attract large numbers of visitors, in particular during evenings and weekends. Emma Cons was a key founder of the Old Vic and for its visitors, the Gardens’ location makes it the natural space in which to meet before or after shows. Emma Cons Gardens has been activated occasionally by the Old Vic in the past, during its bicentenary celebrations and for hosting a box office. Finally, Waterloo also welcomes significant numbers of more transient visitors. Waterloo station is the UK’s busiest railway station with 86 million entries and exits in 2019/20 and the area hosts an increasing number of hotels. National and international holidaymakers can regularly be seen pulling suitcases through the Gardens on the way to and from Waterloo Station, taking selfies in front of the Old Vic, or consulting the Legible London Monolith, whilst some workers arrive in to Waterloo before traveling by foot to workplaces further afield.

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EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


RESIDENTS IN ‘CORE AREA’ 62% 17% 13% 5% 3%

White Black/Black British Asian/Asian British Mixed Other

Ethnicity 54% 33% 7% 2% 2% 1% 1% 0%

Muslim Buddhist Hindu Jewish Other Sikh

None

Christian

Religion 12% 18% 24% 15% 11% 10% 6% 2% 2%

0-15yrs 16-24yrs 25-34yrs 35-44yrs 45-54yrs 55-64yrs 65-74yrs 75-84yrs 85+yrs

Age

BACKGROUND

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RESPONDENT DEMOGRAPHICS

There were 368 total respondents to the survey. Where available these statistics were used as a baseline against which to measure the extent to which engagement was reaching different parts of the community. Equality and diversity monitoring questions, covering the 6 protected characteristics of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and religion, were included at the end of the online survey, with results anonymised. There were some particular challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that some groups were less present than usual or more difficult to reach. In particular, there was a noticeable drop in the number of young people, who may usually have been attending university in the area. There were also fewer workers present in the area than usual, with many office workers working from home during the period of the engagement. While we tried to reach these people digitally, it is to be expected that they had less direct interest in Waterloo at this time. Following an initial review of the respondent demographics, we used targeted workshops and in-person surveys to capture more in-depth views from any underepresented groups. For example, we undertook workshops with a group of young people attending the nearby London Nautical School. This included surveying the public with the group as well as running a design competition to encourage them to share their own ideas about how Emma Cons Gardens could be redesigned. One other statistic to note is the difference in religious beliefs between the baseline information and respondents, with a significantly higher number of people identifying as having no religion. This may be partly explained by changes since the last census, as well as by the way people consider this question in the context of a census, as opposed to a more informal survey.

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EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


ENGAGEMENT RESPONDENTS 72% 11% 6% 6% 5%

Black/Black British Asian/Asian British Mixed Other

White

Ethnicity 28% 56% 5% 1% 1% 3% 5% 1%

Christian Muslim Buddhist Hindu Jewish Other Sikh

None

Religion 7% 11% 18% 20% 19% 13% 7% 5% 0%

0-15yrs 16-24yrs 25-34yrs 35-44yrs 45-54yrs 55-64yrs 65-74yrs 75-84yrs 85+yrs

Age

BACKGROUND

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ENGAG E ME N T PRO CE S S

IMPACT OF COVID-19 The project has taken place during the Covid-19 pandemic. This made it more difficult to use many of the usual means of meeting face-to-face. A large proportion of meetings were carried out online using video conferencing tools and the engagement was centred around using online tools to gather feedback. However, we were able to carry out a small number of targeted workshops when it was possible to do so. For full details of the public engagement events, please refer to Appendix 3. STRATEGY This document has been created in conjunction with the community. The process has recognised that the space is already used by a diverse range. 1. ONLINE SURVEY The community engagement was based around an online survey, which was then promoted in person and on site. The survey aimed to discover any existing features that were valued, any existing issues with the space and the community’s future hopes for the use of the space. 2. ON-SITE DROP IN SESSIONS These sessions sought to engage the community in person and to actively engage with people who were using Emma Cons Gardens. This ranged from businesses operating on the site to individuals stopping for a break or just passing through. 3. TARGETED WORKSHOPS Due to Covid-19 the demographic that uses the space has shifted. In particular, there are fewer young people who would normally attend the universities and schools in the area. We ran a workshop with the London Nautical School to get more in-depth feedback and to engage younger age groups.

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EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


The online survey formed the core of the engagement. The survey ran from 16th June to 30th July 2021 and there were 368 respondents in total. The survey was made up of 3 section as follows: WHAT IS IT LIKE NOW? 1. Why do you usually visit Waterloo? 2. How do you currently use Emma Cons Gardens? 3. What do you like about Emma Cons Gardens now? 4. What do you dislike about Emma Cons Gardens now? WHAT COULD WE IMPROVE? 5. What would you like to do in Emma Cons Gardens in the future? 6. What other changes or new features would make it better? 7. If you could do anything with Emma Cons Gardens, what would it be? TELL US MORE 8. Image poll showing different types of public seating. 9. Image poll showing playable spaces. 10. Image poll showing daytime events 11. Image poll showing evening events. The questions were a mixture of multiple-choice, open and image questions in order to build up a quantitative and qualitative picture of Emma Cons Gardens ; a place which is seen as unloved and facing significant challenges. For further details of the full results of the public engagement refer to the Appendices. The responses were analysed to identify key themes, which are illustrated and discussed in the following sections. The percentages refer to the proportion of the respondents who answered each question. One person may have selected multiple answers in a single response, so the percentages may not add up to 100%. BACKGROUND

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PART 3 F INDING S : WHAT I S I T L IKE NOW ? This section analyses the survey results with regards to Emma Cons Gardens in its current state. As can be seen in the survey results opposite, there was largely a consensus over what it is currently used for and how they feel about the site. Overall, the results and comments by respondents suggested that the space is not well used at the moment, with some people feeling excluded from the space due to perceived anti-social behaviour such as drinking in the street or gathering in large groups. Others suggested that it is not a space to stop and rest because of the litter and lack of maintenance. However, it is in a key location connecting Waterloo Station to the surrounding area and is home to 3 mature London Plane trees that respondents felt were important to the site. Many people noted that the space has a lot of potential to be improved. Future designs will need to maintain the things that people value, while improving upon any issues identified. The following pages illustrate the most important factors that affect how people regard Emma Cons Gardens as it is now.

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EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


SURVEY RESULTS How do you use Emma Cons Gardens currently? 68% 26% 8% 7% 6% 5% 3% 1%

Walking or cycling through

I don’t use it Buying food / coffee / flowers Relaxing on my own Meeting people Eating takeaway or lunch As a landmark for directions Playing / skating / exercising

What do you like about Emma Cons Gardens now? 63% 29% 27% 22% 18%

The trees and greenery The good location The coffee and flower stalls Its openness and flexibility Nothing

What do you dislike about Emma Cons Gardens now? 63% 47% 42% 41% 35% 29% 19% 6%

It feels unloved Not enough seating Not enough planting The quality of design It feels unsafe It feels noisy or stressful Flooding when it rains The coffee and flower stalls

Note: The percentages refer to the proportion of the respondents who answered each question. This number varies by question. Each person may have selected multiple answers in a single response, hence the percentages do not add up to 100%.

FINDINGS

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FINDINGS: WHAT IS IT LIKE NOW? 68% WALK OR CYCLE THROUGH

It’s a passageway rather than a place to gather.

28

I thought it was just the pavement to be honest.

It’s not a nice space at the moment so I only walk through. I would use it more if it were nicer!

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


63% LIKE THE MATURE TREES

I do like the trees but I don’t like the raised planters.

FINDINGS

Just the trees. Don’t cut them down, they are too good for the environment.

I mostly walk through but always find the trees and greenery lovely to look at. A lot of my elderly neighbours like spending time there on way to shops.

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FINDINGS: WHAT IS IT LIKE NOW? 63% THINK IT FEELS UNLOVED

It isn’t just flooding when it rains. The water will stay standing for weeks after. In addition it always feels filthy.

30

The paving slabs are also horrible, really ugly and uneven.

There’s always lots of trash which means that it smells massively, especially in summer.

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


47% THINK THERE IS A LACK OF ACCESSIBLE SEATING

The space is majorly used by people who are passing to nearby pubs, deliveroo cyclists, and homeless people.... As there’s usually groups of them and no where to sit the space becomes off-putting.

FINDINGS

It would be nice to be able to sit and have a coffee and watch the world go by without feeling under threat.

People just have to sit on the low brick walls.

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F INDING S : WHAT C OU L D BE IM PROV E D ? This section discusses the 5 priorities for future use that were identified by the survey. These are points of near consensus between respondents and are discussed in order of importance. The priorities are: 1. “Truly Public” - its role as a welcoming public space 2. “A Green Oasis” - a planted space to relax in 3. “A place to eat” - supporting outdoor dining 4. “Enabling Events”- space for daytime events 5. “Fun but subtle” - integrating playability Underlying these priorities are 3 design challenges that will affect how the space will be managed, and which will be key to creating a successful public space. A. SEATING

B. SAFETY

C. COMMERCIAL USE

The question of public seating creates strong positive and negative reactions.

17% of respondents made unprompted comments about behaviours that make them feel either unsafe or unwelcome in the space.

There are strong feelings over the appropriate level of revenue-raising activity at Emma Cons Gardens.

Many respondents raised the lack of comfortable seating as a problem, and suggested terraced seating that would encourage free gathering. However, some local residents felt that permanent seating would encourage rough sleeping or anti-social behaviour.

These were predominantly comments about larger groups of street drinkers, delivery riders, or revelers from local bars. To make the space welcoming by all, it will be important to address safety and the perception of safety.

Some people feel strongly about the idea of a public space that everyone can use free of charge at all times, whereas others feel that including some privately managed seating in the space would provide positive surveillance of the space, making it feel safer.

These concerns are interlinked, and could be resolved through a combination of sensitive design and a coordinated strategy of management. While survey respondents might have concerns about an extreme scenario, such as a square filled with restaurant tables at all times, a new Emma Cons Gardens could include a balance of different features and uses at different times of the day, enabled by active “stewardship” of the space. Some commercial use may provide funding to support this in the long term. 32

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


SURVEY RESULTS How would you like to be able to use Emma Cons Gardens? 35% 25% 24% 22% 22% 22% 6% 4%

Relax Take a break in the fresh air Meet friends Dine outside Visit food and market stalls Go to a performance or small event Play or exercise Travel through it without obstructions

What other changes or new features would make it better? 64% 63% 31% 28% 26% 15% 6%

More greenery Public seating

Cafe seating Events / markets Better lighting Shelter Play space

The image poll questions were designed to gain a more qualitative view of what people would like to see at Emma Cons Gardens in the future. It presented a selection of images of existing spaces to provoke discussion and draw out more detailed comments. For more information, please refer to the Appendix. The following pages include drawings of these reference projects as illustrations of potential design themes.

Note: The percentages refer to the proportion of the respondents who answered each question. This number varies by question. Each person may have selected multiple answers in a single response, hence the percentages do not add up to 100%.

FINDINGS

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FINDINGS: WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED? 1. “TRULY PUBLIC” – A WELCOMING PUBLIC SPACE Emma Cons Gardens should be open, accessible and predominantly available for use free of charge. There is significant support for more public seating from workers eating lunch, residents meeting friends or shoppers taking a break. The design needs to make this public space feel safe and welcoming to all. However, there are also some concern that seating will encourage street drinking and late-night noise that disturbs residents. One key concern is that 62 respondents, especially local residents, independently commented on antisocial behaviours that make them feel unwelcome.

The space should also be inclusive. I am uneasy by the way homelessness sometimes raises fear... they should be able to use the space. This fear is also sometimes used as a pretext to commercialise public space, which I wouldn’t want to happen here.

I like the idea of lots of greenery and robust planting, alongside well designed seating. Design is important in such a key location, so furniture should be individual and designed for heavy use, but not look too “functional”.

Sculptural Benches at Henriksdalsallén Designed by AJ Landskap 34

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67%

CHALLENGES

WHAT IF...

67% of respondents wanted more public seating, including 69% amongst those up to the age of 34.

Safety: Large groups can intimidate other users. Management: Seating could encourage antisocial behaviour.

“Make it more of a piazza with nice planting to offer the area as an oasis away from the busy road.”

The seating is accessible to every size and shape, and robust. It is also a good use of space as it maximises the number of seats. Visually it also ties in to the local theatre feeling.

The informal nature allows much more flexibility... The seating feels instinctively public, rather than there being any doubt whether you’d have to buy a coffee from a particular vendor to use them.

Stepped Seating at Granary Square Designed by Townshend Landscape Architects FINDINGS

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FINDINGS: WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED? 2. “A GREEN OASIS” – A PLANTED SPACE TO RELAX IN Designs for Emma Cons Gardens should enhance its green and planted character to create a space where people can meet and relax, but that is flexible enough to be punctuated by use for performers and events. Some respondents said that it is the first space where visitors can stop and find their bearings once they have left Waterloo Station, acting as a remote station forecourt. Adding more greenery was seen as the best way to improve the space, with requests for imaginative planting that provided shelter from the road. A key concern that many respondents raised was the need for maintenance; a robust maintenance plan will be key to the success of any new planting.

I like the organic nature of the seating and sculpture and the way it blends in with the planting.

Make it more of a piazza with nice planting to offer the area as an oasis away from the busy road.

Create a little oasis it’s a busy road junction! Less paving, greater biodiversity, a wildlife garden, more permeable surfaces, attractive seating opportunities.

The Institute’s Park, Lübeck Designed by Atelier Roberta 36

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70%

CHALLENGES

WHAT IF...

70% of respondents wanted more planting and 51% of respondents wanted it to be somewhere they can relax or take a break.

Management: A robust management plan will be key to any new planting being succesful. Management of the space was a key concern.

“What about a lovely mini forest like at the Bienale, Somerset House?””

Make it a place to relax, and slow down hustle and bustle around. Too much traffic around....

If planting and greenery were organised around insulating the gardens from the noise and exhaust of the busy road and intersection, the area will be massively improved.

It should have interesting footpaths surrounded by planting. A beautiful green oasis that slows people down as they walk through it.

Public Seating at Granary Square, London Designed by Townshend Landscape Architects FINDINGS

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FINDINGS: WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED? 3. “A PLACE TO EAT” – SUPPORTING OUTDOOR DINING Emma Cons Gardens should provide space for people to eat their food, or perhaps buy something at a cafe or restaurant. “Dine outside” and “Visit food and market stalls” were also the second and third most popular responses for what people want to do in ECG in amongst younger respondents. In the evening, respondents said they would like to be able to spend time eating or drinking in ECG, especially theatre goers who wanted somewhere to go before the show. An image of a busy square with restaurant seating was popular, perhaps because it may help to make the square feel safer. However, there were also a significant number of comments against commercial use of this public space, and those pointing out the existing food offer in the area.

A space both for taking a break in the fresh air, and with something interesting to visit e.g. more stalls (I know there’s already a coffee van in the area). For people that work in the area, it has great potential to be a spot for lunches and taking quick breaks!

I like having a coffee in the square, but there is nowhere to sit. I have to sit on the steps or low lying walls bordering the grassy bits. Benches along the walls...and 2-3 tables for patrons of the coffee caravan would be great.

Deptford Market Yard Designed by Farrer Huxley 38

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43%

CHALLENGES

WHAT IF...

43% of evening visitors said they would like to be able to spend time eating or drinking in ECG, in particular those visiting the theatre.

Commercialisation: Some users wanted cafes or restaurants to use parts of the space, whilst others preferred to keep it free to use.

“The best thing for us would be a place to eat our lunch outside that’s sheltered!”

Happy to have some cafe seating but don’t want it to take over or sprawl.

I like the idea of cafe seating and a more sociable place to walk though.

I like the general idea of tables and chairs that can be used any way people want. They bring a space alive. Static seating is dead looking, not very welcoming.

Seating at Flat Iron Square, London Designed by Witherford Watson Mann FINDINGS

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FINDINGS: WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED? 4. “ENABLING EVENTS” – A PLATFORM FOR PERFORMANCE Waterloo hosts many theatres and arts organisations and has a proud cultural heritage, and the Old Vic faces directly onto Emma Cons Gardens. With this in mind, many people were keen for Emma Con Gardens to host small events, music or theatrical performances. The challenge here will be in achieving a space that delivers on the other priorities whilst being flexible enough to be punctuated by use for performers and events. Avoiding late-night noise will be important as not to bother residents. The statistics from the survey suggest this is a lower priority than other issues. Most respondents were happy for occasional events or temporary installations to take place.

I think that these three women (Emma Cons, Octavia Hill, Lilian Baylis) should be recognised in this ‘parklette’ as they are already symbolised by the deeply rooted trees that exist on the spot.

Make it big and bold and noisy - what about a brass band?

I sort of like this, perhaps a small plinth to put the odd band or a little light music on during the summer. A BIG MAYBE?

River Stage at the National Theatre, London

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EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


40%

CHALLENGES

WHAT IF...

40% of those under 34 and 36% of residents thought that occasional small events or markets would improve Emma Cons Gardens.

Management: Most user were happy for events to take place in the space, with the condition that large crowds did not take over the space.

“An interactive sculpture like the fourth plinth in trafalgar square which give new artists a platform.”

Waterloo is special, full of history and with a sense of community.

We could link performances to the Old Vic.

Like street performance connected to the theatre. People could apply for a residency.

Busker at Covent Garden, London

FINDINGS

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FINDINGS: WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED? 5. “FUN, BUT SUBTLE” - PLAYABILITY Play features were lower on most people’s priorities, with only 6% of all respondents initially suggesting a desire to use the space for “play or exercise.” However, this has been included as a priority because amongst school-aged respondents 63% wanted some sort of play activity as “something to do”. The challenge will be fitting playable activity into the space alongside other uses. Amongst school-aged respondents, the most popular idea was active play such as table-tennis tables. Several respondents were concerned about skateboarders, and preferred subtle interventions such as playable benches or floor painting. Additionally, people suggested playful interventions such as a water feature, a rain garden with puddles for young children, or giant chess.

This looks like a place for kids as well as for adults.

Something that doubles as seating and something to play on is multi purpose and cost effective.

I like that the trees and flower beds are integrated into the play.

The Institute’s Park, Lübeck Designed by Atelier Roberta 42

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


63%

CHALLENGES

WHAT IF...

Although not a priority overall, amongst schoolaged respondents 63% wanted some sort of play activity as “something to do”.

Safety: Some people were worried by proximity to the road. Management: Any playful addition needs to be managed .

“My child loves playing in the puddles there when it rains. it would be great to harness this and have a rain garden.”

I am concerned about it becoming an area for skateboarding or cycling but it would be great for children to be able to interact with the space.

This looks like the type of place which small children could play on in the morning; teenage skateboarders could enjoy in the afternoon; middle-aged theatre goers could mull around in the evening; and drunken students could eat kebabs on at night. I love that versatility, without making it “for” any of those particular groups.

Duke of York Square, London Designed by PDP London FINDINGS

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ANALYSIS: U SE R GROU P S

This section discusses how priorities differ between different types of user. This is dependent on variety of factors including how they use the space and who they are.This can be seen particularly with young school-aged children wanting some sort of activity of play space, which is in contrast to most other groups. It will be important that any design balances the needs of the various different users. From the survey, as well as other research, we have identified 6 main user groups who use the space in different ways and at different times of day. These are as follows: • Residents: They use the space as a meeting point or as a space to stop on the way to the shops. Some live directly adjacent to the square are affected by any activities that happen there. • Workers: They pass through Emma Cons Gardens during their commutes. Some also use it as a place to sit and eat lunch, or have a short break • Day-time visitors: They are usually here to go shopping or out for a meal and use the space as a place to meet their friends. • Night-time visitors: They are here to visit the bars, restaurants and theatres. Emma Cons Gardens is used as place to gather before shows or after bars and restaurants close. • Young people: They often pass through on the way to school or university but many did not even realise that Emma Cons Gardens was a public space. They do, however, see its potential. • Street Population: the street population has historically used this space. While there is some overlap between groups, it is important to differentiate this group from street drinkers, many of whom are locally housed residents.

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EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


You already have two world famous theatres within a few yards, no need for any more.

Happy to have some cafe seating but don’t want it to take over or sprawl.

It’s occupied by people who don’t have anywhere else to go - which I understand, but as a single woman I avoid it. I would prefer if this area is not too inviting for playing. It’s located at busy streets and the chance something happens might be heightened during play.

Want to make sure that homeless people aren’t excluded from the space... A wildlife meadow would work well and be low maintenance.

? The following pages include quotes from survey respondents in these groups as well as discussion of key statistics and differences between groups.

ANALYSIS

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USER GROUPS

Doesn’t need park space but a social space where people can meet. An oasis. With my company we do performance outside. It needs to be something people can dip in and out of.

It isn't just flooding when it rains. The water will stay standing for weeks after. In addition it always feels filthy. I wouldnt want to spend any time there as it's just dirty.

Have some more stalls that make it active and managed. Management is important. The stalls on the church are looking for a new space.

? WORKERS Workers in the area prioritised using Emma Cons Gardens as a space to take a break or relax, particularly during lunch breaks or after work.This can be seen in their desire for more public seating (68%) and more greenery (68%). Compared to other groups, workers were looking for more markets and places to buy food as well as places to sit. They do not see it a social space, with only 14% of respondents saying that would like to meet friends there, compared to an average of 23%. 46

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


Just improving the greening, sorting out the pavements and better lighting would be enough. The area has had a lot of money spent on it in the past - three times in the last 20 years - but it's never maintained so it looks lovely for a short time only.

At the moment it is currently not used as well as it could be. It needs to be designed in a way that encourages the community to use it and own it.

As a woman on my own, I don’t like passing through there because it seems like the only people who congregate there are large groups of men... Plus, there’s always lots of trash which means that it smells massively.

? RESIDENTS As people who live in the area near Emma Cons Gardens, their concerns were slightly different to other groups. In particular, they raised the need for improved safety. They currently see Emma Cons Gardens as a place where large groups gather at night after leaving nearby bars and nightclubs. Perhaps surprisingly, residents were keen for Emma Cons Gardens to host small events, although they did raise some concerns about late night noise and the space becoming too busy. ANALYSIS

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USER GROUPS

There is a big homeless population and it would be good to see something for those guys.

I think it could be transformed in an amazing haven, giving a break from the hustle and bustle around (traffic, trains, ....) slowing down the area.

Feels dirty, unwelcoming and sometimes unsafe. A key meeting point which feels unloved and underused.

? DAY TIME VISITORS Day time visitors were particularly looking for a place to rest, with 73% asking for public seating. They were also particularly interested in events that could happen in the space, with 52% saying that they would like to go to a performance or a small event, compared with an average of 22%. However, cafe seating was less popular, with some saying that they would like a place were they can sit for free as there already many places to get food or drinks in the area. 48

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


Used as a congregation area for delivery drivers and for customers at the bars that overlook the square. Feels dirty, unwelcoming and sometimes unsafe.

Feels unsafe, a bit dark and lots of people hanging around in the evening.

It would be great to have it greener, with some flexible space that can be used sometimes for events and pop ups. It would be great to get the Old Vic doing stuff on it sometimes.

? EVENING / NIGHT TIME VISITORS For evening and night time visitors, the most important thing was providing a place to relax, by installing more greenery (81%) and more public seating (90%). However, it should be noted that other user groups were uncomfortable with large groups of people ‘hanging around’ after that bars and nightclubs have closed. For those visiting the theatre, having a place to sit outside and have food or a drink before the show was a priority. ANALYSIS

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USER GROUPS

Art installations. Something creative. Me and my house mates would come if there were things to look at like the photographer of the year exhibitions. Castle square was refurbished and for the first few weeks they had different themed stalls, which was good. It allowed people from different cultures to share.

Honestly the design right now is a bit shambolic. The greenery is closed off and repelling and there aren't enough bins. I am a musician and it would be great to have a bandstand or other performance space.

? YOUNGER PEOPLE With universities and schools nearby, as well as many businesses, the younger population was more interested in using Emma Cons Gardens as a place to socialise or dine outside, with 33% of respondents wanting to use it as a place to meet friends compared to an average of 22%. In addition, amongst school aged children, play space was very popular although other users expressed concerns about safety and the use of space. 50

EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


Seating would be good because it hurts my back to sit on the low walls. It would be great to have a water feature for the kids to play in - it could be just temporary in hot weather.

The delivery riders are loud and cycle on the park. Also, it is only a garden by name - make it more like an actual garden.

I would like to be able to sit there. I am afraid that, as a homeless person, we will not be welcome there when it is redesigned.

? STREET POPULATION There is a small but significant street population that uses Emma Cons Gardens. They have expressed their worry that they will be marginalised by any developement that happens and that they feel uncomfortable with the large groups of street drinkers. Other users have shown divided opinions regarding this group, with some feeling unsafe around them whilst other are keen to point out that it is a public space that should be available to anyone who wants to use it. ANALYSIS

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PART 4 NEXT STE P S

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EMMA CONS GARDENS ENGAGEMENT REPORT


Continued Engagement Emma Cons Gardens is a high-profile space and there is significant interest in its design from surrounding communities. This engagement project has been a first step, gathering open ideas to help shape the project’s direction. The design process should continue to involve the wider community and to build on those conversations that have been started in the initial consultation phase. We suggest as a minimum that: • Concept designs should be driven by an engagement process before a detailed design is finalised. • The Steering Group should continue to work with a wider “Steering Group Plus” at key points where design input is required. • The Design Team should engage individually with key stakeholders relevant to the issues identified by this work. Adding value In addition to gathering input from the community, this process can also provide opportunities. In the first stage, school children from London Nautical School benefitted from an educational workshop about design and consultation. Future stages could build on this approach by, for example, providing work experience, design competitions or opportunities for people to get involved in planting, maintenance or community activities in the space. Stewardship The future management of Emma Cons Gardens may be as important as the physical design of the space. Firstly, quality of maintenance and the management of anti-social behaviours have been raised as a concern throughout this process. Secondly, if the space is to be used for community activities and to meet the needs of multiple stakeholders at different times, then this program will need to be managed. Waterloo is blessed with a range of local groups that have the organisational capacity to contribute to this.

NEXT STEPS

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