Bedford Street Reserve is an elevated grassy open space surrounded by mature Elm trees between Courtney, Capel and Bedford Streets. It has been enjoyed by local residents since the 1930-40s. Across the road, is the Courtney Street Reserve, a smaller triangular green space with young trees.

Funding has been secured to potentially transform the current reserves into larger, more functional and more attractive neighbourhood ‘pocket park’.

We asked the community about their levels of support for re-purposing parts of the adjacent roads and some underutilised car parks, to increase the size of the green space by up to 2700 square metres.

Transforming this space would:

  • create more open green space for locals to use
  • enhance biodiversity, water retention and tree canopy cover for climate resilience
  • beautify the neighbourhood, making it a more desirable place to visit and live.

The Bedford Street Pocket Park project is supported by the Victorian Government through the Local Parks Program.

Reimagining our green reserves

From 28 April to 24 May 2021 we asked the community for their thoughts on expanding and improving the green space in the Bedford Street and Courtney Street reserves.

Some factors relevant to this project include:

  • This pocket of Melbourne has low levels of public open space.
  • We would need to utilise some of the adjoining road space and parking, and potentially change some traffic conditions to enable the creation of more parkland for the local community. However we would maintain sufficient Area 5 resident priority parking for local residents.
  • Sections of Bedford and Courtney streets have very low volumes of predominantly through (non-local) traffic.
  • More trees and greening will improve the beauty, biodiversity and climate adaptation of the area.

City of Melbourne also manages and maintains more than 11 public spaces in North Melbourne, including Errol Street Park, Gardiners Reserve and North Melbourne Recreation Reserve.

Improving our neighbourhood parks and streets

Did you know...

In mid 1800, when the subdivision of Melbourne was occuring, a number of triangular open road areas were created by the North Melbourne street layout intersecting with West Melbourne and the central CBD. From the 1930s, many of these left over road spaces were defined, then landscaped and now form an important part of the public open space network in North Melbourne.

Along with wide streets and tree-lined medians, these small triangular parks are an important part of the neighbourhood and character of North Melbourne.

A historical photograph (circa 1925-40) has revealed that a playground maypole or possibly an ornamental water feature once sat at the centre of Bedford Reserve. It's not known exactly when and why it was removed, or whether it served a particular purpose.

Image credit: Author / Creator: Pratt, Charles Daniel, 1892-1968 photographer.

The City of Melbourne is currently facing three significant challenges: climate change, population growth and urban heating. A healthy urban forest will play a critical role in maintaining the health and liveability of Melbourne.

See thermal imaging of northern Melbourne, taken late at night. This image shows how paved unshaded surfaces store heat from solar radiation and retain it long into the night, contributing to increased temperatures in urban areas.

The Urban Forest Strategy recommends increasing natural shading with 40% tree canopy cover and increasing permeable surfaces to help cool our streets.

The Open Space Strategy has identified that North Melbourne is in need of more open space to keep pace with a growing residential population. Specifically at the eastern end, there is less provision compared to the western side of North Melbourne.

Bedford and Courtney reserves were identified as one of several opportunities for expansion and upgrade in City of Melbourne’s Open Space Opportunities in North and West Melbourne (2002), the Open Space Strategy (2012) and in the City North Structure Plan (2012) .

The Victorian Government’s $154 million Suburban Parks Program will deliver 6,500 hectares of new and upgraded parks and trails, creating a ring of suburban parks around Melbourne.

As part of this, $50 million is being invested to create 29 new pocket parks and up to 16 off-leash dog parks, and fund upgrades to existing parks across metropolitan Melbourne.

In 2020, Council’s in Greater Melbourne were invited to nominate sites for the Local Parks Program Round 2 funding, which were assessed by an independent panel. The City of Melbourne was successful in securing funds under this program to create a new Bedford Street Pocket Park.

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