Union Park is a new urban park for Londoners that puts sustainability at its heart
· The seven-acre park will feature a bandstand, children’s play areas, sports zones and a relaxing urban meadow
· Wembley Park’s green spaces will create physical and mental health benefit of more than £1.6m a year1
· The pandemic has reinforced the importance of easy access to fresh air and green space for people’s wellbeing
Plans for one of London’s first new public parks for decades have been revealed, as Wembley Park opens the first section of a new open space for the capital – and the first time Wembley Park will have a new major park for 150 years.
Unveiling the plans for the seven-acre Union Park is the latest milestone in developer Quintain’s multi-billion-pound regeneration of Wembley Park, which is now a globally renowned entertainment district, as well as a thriving 365-day neighbourhood. While the developer has created public spaces, including pocket parks and water features, throughout the neighbourhood, Union Park will be a destination in itself, featuring brand new amenities including a children’s paddling pool, outdoor training equipment and cultural spaces for performances and public art.
The new Union Park has been designed with community at its heart: a place where residents and visitors will be able to experience nature, enjoy unique water features, engage with play areas and performance spaces in a prime location, steps away from the iconic Olympic Way and National Stadium. The Park is being developed on the site of a 1,000+ space car and coach park, which will be moved to a state-of-the-art, multi-storey car park nearby. Union Park’s central location – moments away from Wembley Park tube station – will allow visitors easy access to fresh air and green space.
The southern section of the park, now open, is an attractive space for children and families to play. The north section of the park will feature a more ruggedly natural design and is expected to open in 2024.
Julian Tollast, Head of Masterplanning and Design at Quintain, said: “We have put the park back into Wembley Park – as it was always meant to be. Union Park, Wembley Park’s first significant new green space since the 1870s, is so named because we want it to be a place for the community: a space where people can come together and enjoy nature. The past year and a half has shown, clearer than ever, how important it is that we all have access to natural and wide-open green spaces.”
Cllr Shama Tatler, Lead Member for Regeneration, Property and Planning at Brent Council said: “Our vision for Wembley Park has always had the wellbeing of our communities and sustainability at its core. We have worked in partnership with Quintain to make sure a fantastic new neighbourhood is delivered.
“Access to nature and green spaces has never been more important and plays a crucial role in protecting and supporting mental health and wellbeing, which is why we worked hard to ensure the provision of good quality spaces throughout the area.
“Union Park, spanning almost seven-acres, is a key feature of our transformation plan, carefully designed to ensure our residents and visitors have an abundance of space to relax, play, exercise and reconnect with their natural surroundings.”
Diverse Waterscapes + Greener Spaces
Union Park features a revolutionary water run-off system, which carries rainwater from around the area, filters it, and then releases it into one of the southern section’s lakes. Water features have been an important component of Wembley Park since it was first laid out by Humphrey Repton in the 1770s, with the Wealdstone Brook and Brent River framing the then-manor and now-neighbourhood.
As well as featuring wildflowers, this new community space also features a ‘bug hotel’ which was designed and built by one of the construction apprentice who helped create the park. Bug hotels are a recognised way of creating habitats for insects, which then goes on to boost biodiversity and thus the natural beauty of the space.
To date, Wembley Park has planted nearly 1,000 trees in the neighbourhood, including 48 new trees on the transformed Olympic Way, hailing from temperate zones from all over the world. It has also created three acres of green and brown spaces on the roofs of its buildings, and developed pocket parks that are part of London’s wildlife corridors. The physical and mental health benefit of Wembley Park’s green spaces on completion is expected to be worth £1,635,000 a year.1
People, Play and Pets
Union Park is well designed for the many young families in the area, including the adjacent residents of Canada Gardens. Canada Gardens, which itself offers an acre of green space, a kids’ playpark, and allotments, is one of the build-to-rent developer Quintain’s flagship projects. Union Park and its amenities will serve these residents, others living and working in Wembley Park, as well as those from farther afield.
The first part of the park, which is open now, features amenities including a play park, paddling pools, outdoor gym equipment – which will be an extension of the super-gym right beside it – and a multi-use games area which will enable people to play a number of sports in view of the world-famous Wembley Stadium arch.
Overlooking southern section of the park, Canopy Nursery Wembley Park, a premium nursery that will be a flagship for the brand, is due to open its doors in October. Children in the nursery will make much use of Union Park, with Canopy’s childminders actively encouraging them to interact with the nature on their doorstep.
Wembley Park is one of the first new neighbourhoods in London that is actively dog-friendly – and Union Park is an extension of this. As well as designated areas for dogs to run and play with their owners, there will be a new Pet Parlour nearby to serve pets’ needs. With many of the area’s shops also proactively welcoming dogs, including in London Designer Outlet, Quintain Living’s rental homes are also fully pet friendly.
A New Cultural Space
Union Park will provide an additional backdrop to Wembley Park’s extensive cultural programme, which already features a public art trail with over 20 site-specific public art installations across the neighbourhood, and a year-round calendar of free events.
Central to the park will be a new bandstand designed by award-winning architects Flanagan Lawrence Architects, renowned experts in the design of acoustic shells and performance spaces for music. Flanagan Lawrence have delivered projects for notable arts venues including the newly opened Performance Shell for the San Diego Symphony Orchestra; The Summer Theatre in Szczecin, Poland; the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff; and the Laidlaw Music Centre in St Andrews, Scotland. The Wembley Park bandstand will stage an eclectic programme of music performances, sound installations and concerts, featuring local and international talent.
Additionally, plans for a new Sculpture Park will see new public art commissions on display across the landscape, in dialogue with the surrounding space.
A purpose-built community hub on the doorstep of the park is currently under construction, the second to open in the neighbourhood following the success of The Yellow, Wembley Park’s much-loved Community Centre. The new venue will also home the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which announced a move to the neighbourhood in 2019 and – in partnership with Wembley Park – will be delivering year-round programmes of performance, community engagement and education activity.
Josh McNorton, Wembley Park’s Cultural Director, said: “Culture and entertainment are central to the community and to the creation of memorable experiences at Wembley Park. Union Park is another fantastic space for residents of Brent, local workers, and visitors to experience spectacular events throughout the year. We are excited to be working with partners, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, to curate these moments to an expansive backdrop of greenery, wildflowers and, of course, the iconic Wembley Stadium arch.”
Union Park is a complementary addition to the neighbourhood, not only enhancing Quintain’s sustainability credentials, making the area a much more pleasant place to live; but helping residents and visitors exercise and play, and adding to the destination’s already well-established cultural offer.