London First established the West End Streets Group (WESt) to promote the delivery of high quality public realm improvements in one of the UK’s most important commercial, retail and tourist locations.
WESt comprises members of the landed estates, developers and land owners alongside Business Improvement Districts. The group is chaired by Paul Williams, Chief Executive of Derwent London. WESt champions selected projects to promote their delivery and funding, working with key stakeholders including Westminster City Council, the London Borough of Camden, the Greater London Authority and Transport for London.
WESt is currently promoting three fantastic projects:
Charing Cross Road
This project, which is part of the wider family of schemes including Charing Cross Road, St Martin’s Lane, Panton Street, Orange Street and Whitcomb Street, will deliver traffic free spaces, widened footways, safer cycling routes and safer junctions. The proposals for Charing Cross Road also include a diagonal crossing at Leicester Square station and additional tree-planting, which will revitalise the world-famous historic home of independent bookshops and leading theatres. St Martin’s Lane would be reimagined as a treelined pedestrian priority public space, while the areas nestled between the National Gallery and Leicester Square would become a distinctive cluster of greener streets for people to enjoy, complemented by the creative and cultural offer of the neighbouring theatres and galleries.
The proposed scheme for Marble Arch reconfigures the movement of traffic, whilst maintaining the connectivity of the Inner Ring Road and all bus routes. Traffic is largely removed from close proximity to the Arch itself and the area at the western end of Oxford Street. This would significantly improve pedestrian and cycle access between Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Edgware Road and the Underground station entrances, whilst improving road safety and air quality. The proposals also introduce additional greening and Marble Arch would sit within a large new civic space worthy of its historic status.
The removal of the Aldwych traffic gyratory and creation of a civic space around the St Mary Le Strand Church. Improvements include a network of new public spaces, strengthened pedestrian routes and improved, direct and simplified junctions and crossings for the estimated 30 million people who walk through the area annually. The Aldwych Vision will transform the area for the residents, visitors and workers, improving safety, air quality, accessibility and creating aworld-class cultural and learning quarter.
Since it was established WESt has helped to secure transformational change to the public realm and transport movements in a number of key West End locations, including:
Returning Baker Street to two-way traffic including significant improvements to the public realm alongside a low emissions neighbourhood.
Improving the public realm on the intricate ladder of streets which lies between the Royal Academy of Arts on Burlington Gardens, Bond Street, Regent Street, and Hanover Square. The project significantly improves conditions for pedestrians visiting the galleries, retailers and craft tailors in the area, and provides a major and universally accessible new streetscene in front of the Royal Academy’s new entrance.
Transforming Hanover square into an internationally significant public space, redesigning the gardens in the centre of the square and the public realm around it to ensure it can accommodate the huge increase in pedestrian movement arising from the opening of the new Elizabeth Line station.
Before the redesign the area had become disconnected from its surroundings and rundown in appearance. The area was transformed to deliver significant public realm improvements and create a‘meeting place’ for any time of the day or night. The gardens were re-landscaped, the surrounding area re-paved, pedestrian safety improved and enhanced outdoor seating was provided for workers and visitors.
The £40m pedestrian-friendly revamp of Piccadilly to return it to two-way traffic alongside major improvements to streetscape and widening of the pavements, lighting and removal of street clutter.
Tottenham Court Road
Delivering transformational change to Tottenham Court Road through returning it to two-way traffic, the delivery of new open spaces and pocket parks alongside significant investment in the public realm along Tottenham Court Road and the ladder streets.