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 wellbeing of local residents and visitors, but it 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 the 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:
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.”