Seating Trial Results

During the Easter holidays in Marks Gate, from 29th March to 8th April 2016, Sustrans DIY Streets project ran a seating trial to find out where residents and local users of Rose Lane want seating. In our initial DIY Streets surveys about Marks Gate, you told us you want space to socialise while also raising concerns about anti-social behavior (ASB). When DIY Streets designers suggested putting benches on Rose Lane, some of you were worried this would make ASB even worse rather than encourage positive interaction between neighbours. So we needed to find a way of solving both the lack of seating and ASB problems, and with your help we thought we could…

During the trial we ran activities every day, including games, street chalk-drawing, smoothie making with Sustrans smoothie bike, Dr Bike (mending broken bicycles) and flower planting. Residents were, on the whole, very positive about the seating trial. One resident said, “I liked that my children could sit down and meet other kids”. Others said, “It gives a vibrant community feel” and that it was, “Brilliant! More activities for children brings the standard up. It helps children with their future and how they develop. More communication is good for everyone. I like the colour and everything. I would like new paint on the buildings too”. However, while the majority of comments were positive, some people weren’t so sure. One person said they didn’t like “all the kids hanging around”. Other people had concerns about “possible use by drunks or youths – younger kids need to be controlled by parents”.

From the chart below we can see that the majority of people using Rose Lane walk or cycle to get there, showing why the desire for seating is so high. Check DIY Streets last blog post to find out about the results of our baseline survey.

Travel Summary Chart

*respondents could select more than one answer so percentages summed is greater than 100%


When we asked you how you would rate your experience of using the temporary seating, the majority of you were positive. The activities meant many people taking part in the seating trial rated their experience as good. Only 4% felt their experience was bad.

Experience of Seating



The chart below shows a whopping 45% of you come to Rose Lane to shop, which shows the street is a key destination rather simply a route leading people elsewhere. This makes improving it for walkers, cyclists and residents so much more important in terms of accessibility and attractiveness. We hope the shutters being painted, the roads and crossing points being improved, and potentially new benches and trees will all contribute to a renewed sense of place and pride in the area.

Purpose of visit

*respondents could select more than one answer so percentages summed is greater than 100%

Agree or disagree

The last chart is most telling. 42% of people agreed they ‘met someone new’ on the day they attended the seating trial. One person said, the thing they liked best about the trial was the “community work, the interaction of different people. I love it”. We can see it was  a way for adults, as well as children, to mingle in the area and find new friends. Tackling social isolation and improving people’s access contributes to their general health and wellbeing. We can see from the chart that 43% of people agreed they ‘would visit the area to socialise’ and 48% agreed they had ‘used the area in a different way to usual’ and that ‘different people are using the area’.  40% of people questioned also agreed ‘people are more respectful of the space’.

Fear of crime can prevent people from walking and cycling in certain areas. If an area is improved, it’s possible ASB can be designed out. In this example, seating draws new people to an area who provide informal social control over those who might usually misuse the street. While the majority of respondents didn’t notice the area becoming noisier (only 20%) or being used in the evenings more (only 25%), residents living above the shops complained of increased noise levels in the evenings. ASB by teens on the first night was also reported. One person described this but was optimistic: “the plants got spoiled by youths and other people. Maybe when they are permanent benches this may change a bit. There might be less antisocial behaviour, less mess and more respect for others!” Another resident was less optimistic, saying the seating was ‘drawing the ASBO kids back, causing lots of noise.’ Other residents suggested we move the benches across the street.

The results of the seating trial are in and have been analysed! Drum roll please… The new design for the street moves some of the seating under the tree by the Nursery, where parents and children can congregate after school and the sun shines for longer. There will still be seating outside the shops, but crucially, this won’t be situated outside Tandoori Hut! You will find it further down the street where people were more positive about how it would be used. A waiting point for parents is going ahead outside the Junior School. We hope this meets everyone’s needs and creates a more sociable, positive space in Marks Gate into the future!


Please get in touch if you have any questions:

Louise Gold

Senior Project Officer – Communities Barking and Daganhem


Mobile number: 07879 809 169

Direct dial: 0207 954 3012


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