The transformation of Quadrant House by the installation of a biodiverse living wall has been given the thumbs up by Caterham Valley businesses and shoppers.
The wall, which spans the entire 100 metre length of the Croydon Road building, contains hundreds of plants of 16 different species including ivy, geranium, cotoneaster, carex and campanula. It is irrigated via rainwater harvested from the roof and stored in a tank in the basement.
Sue McGeown, manager of Caterham BID, said: “We’ve had terrific feedback from businesses and visitors alike. It’s a fabulous improvement, which not only looks great, but will have a positive impact on biodiversity and enhance air quality by trapping pollutants.
“In addition, living walls mitigate the urban heat island effect, which occurs because hard surfaces absorb and emit heat to a greater extent than most natural surfaces. So, all in all, it’s a very positive and exciting development for Caterham Valley town centre.”
Gapalan Kana, owner of Whyteleafe Grill and Bar, one of the Quadrant House street-level units, is thrilled with the result.
He said: “It’s very beautiful, perfect, with real flowers and plants, and now people are looking at our restaurant. It opens onto the pavement and they say it feels like London! We’re 100% happy and are already seeing an improvement in our business.”
Just along from Gapalan’s restaurant is Shard Solutions, a family-run business specialising in supplying and installing windows and doors. Colleagues Amy Glandfield and Chloe Goldstone also gave the plantings the thumbs up.
Amy said: “The building is really clean and fresh. The wall actually makes the road appear wider, brighter and more open. We’ve certainly seen an uplift in trade already.”
Chloe added: “I definitely think the shops look more inviting. We see people looking – a lady the other day said she had stopped to look at the wall, noticed the shops, and came in.”
The green transformation is part of the improvements to Quadrant House that are being made by Tandridge District Council, who own the building. The refurbishment has been paid for by the Coast To Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and the living wall has been installed and will be maintained by sub-contractor, Smartscape, specialists in urban greening solutions. Smartscape advised Tandridge District Council and their design consultants on the planting palette, taking into account the amount of sunlight that the building façade receives throughout the year. Smartscape will visit the living wall regularly for maintenance.
Further works to modernise Quadrant House
When finished, the ongoing work to refurbish and modernise Quadrant House will provide over 15,000 square feet of modern, air-conditioned suites in the range of sizes for local businesses, some with access to a private roof terrace. The total office space is 38,000 feet.
Tandridge District Council confirmed that they expect the refurbishment work to complete on 23 September 2022. We’ll be reporting back with more news then!