Northbank BID secures £18m of funding to improve Strand/Aldwych gyratory

We are delighted to announce that through the collaborative partnership of the Northbank BID and Westminster City Council, a further £18 million funding to improve the Strand/Aldwych gyratory has been secured. The scheme will not only elevate the well-being of local residents and visitors, but will also act as a catalyst for further development in the area.

With works set to begin this year and be completed by late 2022, the local authority funded improvements will provide much needed green space and enhanced pedestrian access. Under the scheme, the area in front of Somerset House and King’s College on the Strand will be transformed into a traffic-free area by August 2021. The existing traffic gyratory will be removed, and two-way traffic on Aldwych will be introduced, allowing for the creation of a pedestrian and cycle zone on the Strand between Lancaster Place and Surrey Street. The final phase of the scheme will see a new and improved public space in the heart of Central London, around St Mary le Strand Church, creating a community and cultural hub.

By leading this project, Northbank BID has developed a holistic approach for placemaking, which will revitalise the gateway to the West End. The scheme will see the creation of a thriving creative and cultural quarter underpinned by opportunities for collaboration through its strong links to neighbouring districts. Additional key benefits include:

  • Improved air quality, traffic removed from one of London’s most polluted streets and more greenery on the Strand and Aldwych
  • A better, people-friendly experience for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Enhanced connections to Covent Garden, the City, Holborn and the West End

Delivered by an exemplary partnership between Northbank BID and Westminster City Council, the Strand/Aldwych improvements demonstrate the value of public and private sectors working together to deliver meaningful changes for the local community. The level of collaboration across the scheme has set the precedent for future proposals and has acted as a pilot project for repositioning the local area.

Ruth Duston, Chief Executive, Northbank BID, said: “I am proud that the Northbank BID was the driving force behind this fantastic project and delighted that it has taken a major step forward. Our ongoing collaborative work with Westminster City Council to develop these unique proposals puts pedestrians and visitors right at the heart of the plans, by creating new opportunities for walking, exploring and enjoying everything this part of the West End and theatre-land has to offer. 

“When we first proposed this project in 2014, we knew it would have huge public benefits. Today, following the impact of COVID-19, I would argue these benefits are even greater. As a city, it is vital that we provide new reasons for people to visit central London and use our public spaces in a much more effective and sustainable way. This project does just that and I can’t wait to see it brought to life.

“This is just the first step in our wider plans to improve public spaces in this area of London, focusing on sustainability, wellbeing and creating vibrant and memorable experiences for visitors.”

Matthew Green, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Business and Planning, said: “Coronavirus has taught us both how to work at pace and how to improve collaboration with partners. We’ve worked hard with project stakeholders to bring forward our plans which can now be implemented more quickly and at a lower cost delivering a major new public space for Westminster as early as summer 2021.

“We are doing all we can to build business and economic confidence in our city and the substantial budget for this work will help improve the visitor experience, kickstart the economy and create jobs and prosperity for now and the future. Our long-term ambition for Strand/Aldwych is not diminished and we intend to draw in additional investment to realise the permanent scheme.”

A Message From Our Chief Executive


A message from Ruth Duston OBE OC:

Happy New Year to our business members – I hope you managed to get some rest over the holiday period.

Last year was a transformative and challenging year for us all, and the start of 2021 has brought with it a continued sense of uncertainty as COVID-19 cases surge.

Although London has been subjected to restrictions for many months, the national lockdown announced a few days ago will be another blow to thousands of businesses who are struggling to navigate their way through this pandemic. However, we are starting to see glimmers of hope and I am encouraged that we will start to navigate out of this period in 2021. A UK-wide vaccine programme means that as each day passes, more of our vulnerable population are being vaccinated, bringing us one step closer to a return to ‘normal’ life. A life where we can welcome back Londoners and tourists once again to our vibrant and thriving city.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government has committed billions to supporting businesses across the country. Now that we can begin to see a timeline for recovery, they must not let these businesses fall at this last hurdle. The Chancellor’s announcement of further financial support is welcome, but I know that grants of up to £9,000 per property will not scratch the surface for Central London businesses who are battling with high rents and severely reduced incomes. We cannot have a ‘one size fits all’ approach and that is why it is imperative that the Government works closely with the Mayor of London to set out a clear recovery plan for London.

This year, the BID team and I will continue to lobby the Government to help foster a co-ordinated response to the pandemic, and to minimise the fallout. In particular, we will push for greater clarity across the spectrum from access to testing and vaccines, to a coherent strategy, plan and timeline as to how we exit lockdown, to clear communication and improved collaboration with the private sector. We will also continue to work closely with our local authority partners to provide businesses with additional guidance and support.

Over the past few months I have been continually impressed and heartened to see the response from our community and how we have come together. London is a unique city, the hub and heart of the UK and so I know that together, and in working closely with the Government, we will be able to bounce-back from this pandemic. It has been a tough start to the year, but together we will overcome this.”

We are keen for our business community to keep in touch with us so if you would like to discuss anything specific with the BID please contact Jacqueline Chambers.

January 2021 Business Update – Covid19


Trafalgar Square
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that England will enter into a national lockdown from today, due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, we are continuing to support our business community with information on resources, measures and support which may be of use. 

The Government has published a 22-page document outlining detailed guidance on the new rules of what you can and can’t do. You can view it here

Government Support for Businesses:
This afternoon, The Chancellor announced that £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants are being made available to support businesses and protect jobs. The one-off top-up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses are worth up to £9,000 and will be granted to closed businesses as follows: £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
A further £594 million is also being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants, that might be affected by the restrictions. Businesses should apply to their Local Authorities.

The new one-off grants come in addition to billions of existing business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen. Find out more here.

GLA Support for Businesses:
The London Business Hub has launched a series of free, dedicated webinars delivered by expert speakers that have been carefully designed to answer your questions and to help guide London’s small businesses through the many challenges presented by COVID-19. They have also brought together a range of resources and information to help you through these difficult times and to help you find the right support. This includes access to funding, including their own grant funds for businesses, as well as support to help you reopen your business safely. Find out more here.