Extinction Rebellion activists plan party bidding ‘farewell’ to Hackney Central garden ahead of station development

XR's "garden of earthly delights" in Graham Road. Picture: Extinction Rebellion

XR's "garden of earthly delights" in Graham Road. Picture: Extinction Rebellion - Credit: Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists are hosting a “farewell” party at the weekend to bid adieu to the garden they created on derelict council-owned land, where a second entrance to Hackney Central Station will soon be built.

Commuters left waiting as trains cancelled at Hackney Central overground station. Picture: Emma Bart

Commuters left waiting as trains cancelled at Hackney Central overground station. Picture: Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

Although the development in Graham Road still requires planning permission, it could be up and running by the end of the year.

Hackney Council's cabinet is expected to authorise signing a non-legally binding agreement with Transport for London (TfL) and Network Rail tonight, to collaborate on the £3.2m Network Rail funded project, which will alleviate overcrowding and congestion. The current entrance in Amhurst Road dates back to the 80s and was only designed with a 20-year operating life in mind, therefore struggles to accommodate increasing numbers of commuters.

Surveys carried out by TfL showed that about 30 to 35 per cent of passengers would use the Graham Road entrance instead of the present one.

The council intended to build 10 flats above commercial space on the land it bought for £4m four years ago, but planning permission expired in 2017. It now plans to retain the freehold of the site to eventually build above and around the one-storey station.

Volunteers from the environmental non-direct action group XR who have created and maintained a community garden they have dubbed 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' on the site since May, are pushing for it to be included in the new development. They have welcomed plans for a second entrance because it will encourage use of public transport - but want to make sure that the new building is eco-friendly and that it 'incorporates more of the natural world'.

An event on Sunday from midday to 4pm will see music, storytelling, art installations and hot lunch laid on for visitors, who will also be able to view XR's plans to incorporate the garden into the station, which will eventually be presented to the council with a petition.

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XR organiser Claudia Andrade said: 'Spaces to relax, feel connected to nature and learn together about growing food and natural processes are crucial for communities who live in a busy city, especially in a time of climate emergency.'

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