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Project Overview

Judge’s comments

This is an interesting and brave initiative, sending an important message about approaches to public realm in London. It is a well designed scheme with many of the usual challenges of implementing public realm projects thoughtfully resolved by the use of good materials, planting, and innovative sustainable engineering.

Leonard Circus Shared Space, Leonard Street at Paul Street

Leonard Circus in Hackney is east London’s first example of a ‘shared space’ street, which is a design concept first inspired by the work of Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman, which brings together pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles in a harmonious environment. The shared space scheme was completed by VolkerHighways and London Borough of Hackney’s highways team.

Scheme details

Architect: Hackney Council
Client: Hackney Council / Volkerhighways / Brickability
Project Value: £500,000
Completed: June 2014

About the project

The new shared street includes granite block paving across the entire area with a number of benches and mature trees on the outermost area of the square, giving it a unique feel to the usually structured crossroad. In 2015 this will form part of the Super Cycle Highway Route 1.


VolkerHighways carried out the following works:

– Removal of 500m3 of spoil and the creation of a new sub-base
– Installation of 900m2 of hand laid Porphyry binders
– Installation of 180m2 of hand laid granite setts
– Reclaim and relay 315m2 of york stone paving
– Installation of brighter, low energy LED street lighting
– Planting of 10 young trees, including four large mature trees incorporating their own sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS)
– Relocation of ‘Hitchcock’s Reel’ sculpture next to Gainsborough Studio
– Installation of bespoke seating, car bike port, CCTV and Wi-Fi
– Construction of resin bound gravel and bituminous surfaces


The benefits of the scheme include the following:

– A more accessible area, particularly for the elderly, disabled and those with pushchair
– Improved pedestrian environment with seating areas
– SUDS reduces surface water runoff into drainage system
– The area is now designed to meet the needs of the majority that use it – pedestrians and cyclists
– Supports the Council’s transport vision and strategy of encouraging walking and cycling
– Reuse of existing materials minimised the environmental impact of the works
– Brighter low energy LED street lighting improves safety and security during the night
– Car bike ports provide increased cycle storage space and reduced street clutter