top of page

The Formosa Garden Masterplan

Our beautiful and tranquil communal garden that was created circa 1860 has gone through quite a few changes but nothing on the scale of the long term management strategy and plan that after years of preparation and consultation was finally approved by Westminster Council in 2016.

The need for this new approach derived from the fact that the biannual pollarding of the London planes around the perimeter of the gardens, needed to control the risk of subsidence in properties bordering the garden, was causing long-term damage to the trees.  Each year a number of them were showing signs of decay, with several having to be felled for safety reasons.  In 2010 the Formosa Board recognised that this maintenance regime was unsustainable and commissioned Mark Lutyens Associates to develop an alternative strategy and plan that both alleviated the risk of subsidence and maintained the attractiveness of the garden.  The initial plans were shared with residents in 2012, with 

formal consultation events carried out between 2013 and 2014.  The final plan was signed off at the AGM in May 2015 and a submission to Westminster City Council was approved by their Planning Committee in December 2015.

The documents submitted to Westminster can be accessed here:

Following Committee approval in November 2015 some minor changes were made to the plans at the suggestion of the Westminster Senior Tree Officer - these are included in the plan that is now being implemented which can be found here and here.  The final approval notice can be found here.

Implementation of the new garden layout started in 2016 - this is 'Year 1' as shown in the plans.  As of early 2021, progress has included:

  • Some 45 new trees have been planted, including a couple of groves of silver birch together with some very interesting tree specimens.

  • Five new herbaceous beds have been created, bringing more colour and interest to the large areas of grass whilst maintaining sufficient space for residents to enjoy picnics, children to play games and to facilitate events such as the Family Fun Day and the Fireworks display

  • 16 plane trees and one horse chestnut have been felled in line with the revised masterplan.  These were all identified as being 'at risk' by the expert arboriculturalists

  • An automatic irrigation system has been installed to service both the established beds and the new beds.

The next steps in implementing the new garden design will be:

  • Continue to plant up the new beds to ensure that they give all-year interest

  • Continue to fell the perimeter plane trees in line with the plans.


Our master plan will take at least 30 years to complete and over time will result in a collection of trees that will be allowed to grow in their natural state without pollarding.  In addition, we will have a more diverse range of trees that will be more interesting and provide interest all year round.

If you have any comments or suggestions regarding the implementation of the garden plan, please email

bottom of page