Milner Square in Islington wins Children’s Play award

A revamp of a once-neglected Georgian garden square in Barnsbury, Islington, by LDA Design, has been named the overall winner of the Children’s Play category in this year’s Street Design Awards.

The award was presented to Islington Council in Milner Square by Local Government News Editor, Laura Sharman, with Councillor Webbe, Islington’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport in attendance.

Milner Square was in dire need of restoration, with aged play equipment that was inaccessible for year-round use, surfacing was uneven and planting sparse. As a result, the gardens had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

LDA Design worked closely with Islington Council to reinvigorate the space, making it safer and more inviting for local residents.

For a relatively compact area, the Square had been heavily sub-divided, with fencing carving out three separate spaces for different play ages. LDA Design’s plan removed this fencing, replacing it with careful zoning and inviting new paths. This move opened up the park, improving accessibility. Greater visibility also reduced the risk of anti-social behaviour.

The scheme has increased the available green space, and the diversity and quality of the planting. A greater variety of play is now on offer, appealing to a wider age group. A considered colour pallet references and compliments the Georgian surroundings.

Commenting on the award, LDA Design Senior Consultant, Tom McCreesh, said: “If garden squares are to deliver for their communities and encourage people to spend more time outdoors, they have to feel safe and inviting. Then they can be a real source of pleasure and great places to get to know the neighbours.” 

On presenting the award, Laura Sharman, Editor of Local Government News, said: “I am delighted to name Islington Council as the winner of the Children’s Play category in our Street Design Awards. The judges were extremely impressed by the scheme, which was praised for its remarkable transformation of a valuable community space.”

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at