The prospect of a payload of buried unexploded bombs is one of the obstacles facing Tim Gale Landscape Architects'£2.8 million plans to revive Shoreditch Park in Hackney, east London.
Geophysical surveyors are this week scanning the 7ha site to check that the Blitz, which destroyed row upon row of terraces in the area, has not left a lethal legacy to Gale's scheme.
Tim Gale, the former president of the Landscape Institute, wants to carve up the under-used park in a scheme financed by money from the Shoreditch New Deal Trust, administered by local residents.
'Public parks fit incredibly well into the context of the Urban White Paper, ' said Gale. 'They are public spaces and they meet a lot of criteria the government is trying to meet. Theory suggests that people navigate by open spaces.'
Gale plans new paths to connect the surrounding residential areas and a 2.5m high rampart around the perimeter planted with trees to block out main roads. This will form a 'pasture land' at the centre of the park, drained towards a reed bed to the south. Here there will also be new play equipment 'more urban and gritty than the norm', and a formal garden.
At the centre of this area will be a £500,000 pavilion designed by Brookes Stacey Randal (BSR). The new main entrance will be at the south end of the park and will incorporate costly materials such as York stone 'to show that you can do that in this part of Hackney where people have such low expectations'.
Aside from the bombs, concerns over the upkeep of the park - plans have been mooted for a trust to guarantee staff and maintenance levels - and a depleted planning department at Hackney stand in the way of the scheme, which is due to start on site this summer.