Residents and workers celebrate the sustainable transformation of Keppel Row

The transformation of Keppel Row is complete, with attractive and functional rain gardens, improved accessibility.

It’s a striking example of public art and many small details that keep the changes true to the character of the historic alley.

Councillor Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for environment, transport and air quality, and Donald Hyslop, chairman of Better Bankside, were joined by people who live and work in the area, to celebrate the sustainable transformation of Keppel Row, the alleyway that links Southwark Bridge Road and Great Guildford Street.

Keppel Row Garden shows how sensitive urban design can transform an uninspiring alleyway, into a pleasant space that offers pedestrians a quieter alternative route.

Mr Livingstone, said: “Keppel Row is an excellent example of how we can all work together to transform uninviting spaces into accessible and welcoming environments for pedestrians.

“It offers cleaner air, sustainable drainage, public art and some welcome greenery, all away from busy A roads.

“I look forward to collaborating on the next phase of this project and taking what we’ve learned here to Borough High Street.”

The street has been completely resurfaced with a water permeable treatment that enables rain water to pass through into a tank system below.

“This reduces the rate of rain water run off and the risk of surface water flooding.

Southwark council worked with Better Bankside and local businesses and residents to deliver innovative improvements for the street, with funding from the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund,Greener City Fund, and the developers of 61 Southwark Street.

The project was founded on ground-breaking research, conducted by the Environmental Research Team at King’s College, which revealed that people were exposed to 25 per cent less air pollution by walking in Keppel Row or America Street, compared to walking in Southwark Street.

A mysterious golden figure, created by artist Marian Grolmus, carefully watches over the street from a parapet and the raingardens, which help to manage surface flooding, have timber sleeper edging that references the nearby railway viaduct.

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