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Our story of landscape-led regeneration in Thamesmead

A Greener Thamesmead

Today we’re launching A Greener Thamesmead: The Story So Far. This new publication charts what we’ve been doing with partners and communities in recent years to enhance and care for the many natural assets we own and manage.

Published: 22/05/2024

This work is a major part of our wider plan to improve, grow and look after the Thamesmead for the long term. Introducing the publication, Dr Phil Askew, Peabody’s Director of Landscape, reflects on the importance of delivering high quality open spaces, and how we’re doing this at scale in Thamesmead.  

With an abundance of open space, it’s no surprise that Thamesmead was seen as the alternative to post-war, overcrowded inner city living. The town’s distinctive lakes, canals and green corridors are a lasting reminder of the original masterplan for the area, developed in 1966. They are just as much a part of Thamesmead’s identity today as they were back then.  

The importance of open spaces has always been recognised in town planning, but in recent years we’ve seen growing recognition of just how important they are. Across the world, individuals and organisations are turning more and more to nature to help tackle health inequalities and respond to the climate and biodiversity crises.  

As owners of two thirds of the land here, we’re privileged to be the custodians of a vast and varied landscape roughly the same size as central London. Enhancing and maintaining it is a key part of Peabody’s long-term regeneration of the town. We’re working with communities and partners to look after these extraordinary natural assets so people and nature can flourish.  

Bringing about change at scale requires a clear plan of action as set out in our green infrastructure strategy, Living in the Landscape. Delivering this successfully relies on a range of factors. These include strong partnerships, day-to-day care and ongoing investment, as well as a willingness to try new things, learn as we go, and adapt our work when needed.  

There’s now a growing movement of local nature lovers leading or participating in outdoor projects, supported by a wide range of valued partners. These projects range from small-scale activities such as habitat creation, woodland coppicing, and tree planting, to larger-scale co-production of shared spaces. They are complemented by the ongoing care of our outdoor spaces by our dedicated environmental services team and other specialists. 

Community collaboration is a fundamental part of our work. Over recent years we’ve shifted from traditional methods of engagement towards a more collaborative approach to designing and managing parts of Thamesmead’s landscape.  

Working with local people, we’ve been exploring how they can be more involved in decision making, shaping Peabody policies, and challenging the assumptions we might make on what communities want from their open spaces. Having completed our first five-year plan for Thamesmead, we’ve plenty of stories to tell about the town’s changing landscape.  

This publication captures some of these, shining a light on the people and partners involved. It aims to show how much we value these spaces and why the landscape will always be a key part of regeneration in Thamesmead. Our ongoing commitment to the landscape is outlined in Maintaining Momentum, our plan for Thamesmead 2023-28.  

I hope you’re encouraged by what you read. If you’d like to learn more about working with us in the future, please get in touch.

Read A Greener Thamesmead