Designs for new park and play space near St Paul’s Cathedral revealed

St Paul’s Cathedral park
Image credit LDA Design

New images have been published showing initial designs for a public square to be created by St Paul’s Cathedral.

The mock-ups of Greyfriars Square also indicate the location of the play space planned for the site, leading to concerns about its positioning by Newgate Street.

The square is part of a wider transformation of the area around the cathedral, including a remodelling of the 1970s one-way gyratory system. The scheme is intended to improve the streets and public realm between the old Museum of London site and St Paul’s Underground station, with part of the gyratory to be removed in the process.

City of London members voted through the initial designs for Greyfriars Square at yesterday’s (May 14) Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee meeting. More detailed plans will now be drawn up, with work hoped to begin in March 2025.

The new square will be next to Christchurch Greyfriars Church Garden. Planned works include additional greening, as well as features such as the play area.

While largely welcoming the latest designs, committee members did query the positioning of the play space, specifically its placement not far from Newgate Street. Common Councillor Hugh Selka and Deputy Marianne Fredericks specifically questioned whether its location posed safety risks for children using the equipment, and if other options had been considered.

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Image credit LDA Design

“We should be doing all we can to make sure the play areas we are making are as safe as possible,” Deputy Fredericks said.

Officers told members the positioning of the play space had been considered in previous papers, with the one chosen deemed to be the most suitable.

The potential use of the square as a cut-through for cyclists was also raised. Deputy Shravan Joshi said that while the scheme is ‘something the City definitely needs’, he asked whether measures are planned to prevent cyclists riding through the space.

Officers said a traffic order would be made for the site, which could be enforced. Deputy Randall Anderson also questioned whether cattle grids could be considered, though was told: “If you want to genuinely design a space that is impermeable to bikes, then you will be creating an inaccessible space.”

Members agreed to approve the designs as they were, without needing to revisit the location of the play space.

Following the meeting, a City of London Corporation spokesperson said: “The Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee have approved initial design proposals for Greyfriars Square. This new public space is part of the first phase of the proposed transformation of the St Paul’s Gyratory.

“The proposals seek to close the carriageway at King Edward Street and the Newgate Street Slip Road and create approximately 3,000 square metres of new public space, including a children’s play area.

“A more detailed design proposal will come back for review by the committee later this year.”

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