Public Realm, Strategic Vision Planning Projects

The Northbank is one of the most culturally significant places in London; from Aldwych to the Strand and Trafalgar Square, it is a key priority for the BID to enhance the area to complement the surrounding cultural destinations and world-famous hoteliers and hospitality.

Strand Aldwych

The ambition of the Strand Aldwych project is to transform this location from a polluted, traffic dominated gyratory to a pedestrian-focused destination with strong links to the surrounding districts. The new public realm will balance the needs of the everyday for the local community with a world-class scheme.
The vision is for the area to become a global creative and cultural quarter which will be an international beacon for creativity, enterprise and learning.

The concept designs for Strand Aldwych went to public consultation in January 2019. The Council, working with local organisations, developed proposals to address existing challenges and create a world-class destination; backed by £28m of council investment to deliver this exciting vision.

The project objectives are:

  • Encourage exemplary collaboration within and between a cluster of world-class cultural and educational institutions, SMEs and students enabling high-end research, innovation and a public showcase
  • Nurture and promote skills, entrepreneurship and economic growth in the knowledge and creative sectors
  • Reduce congestion, improve air quality and journey times, with associated positive impacts on health and associated economic benefits
  • Create an inspirational, safe and secure destination that offers a meeting place for workers students, visitors and residents.

Find out more on the Strand Aldwych website here and for a full list of dates, worse is set to commence see here.

Artist Commission

The Northbank BID run and funded the selection of 4 artists. Arts were asked to develop a place-specifc concept around one of the three main themes:

  • Theme 1: Materiality and structures
  • Theme 2: Sound, light and technology
  • Theme 3: Play, engagement and interaction

The artists developed their proposals alongside the project team through RIBA stage 3 integrating their concepts within the emerging landscape design.

  • Emma Smith is developing a cross-site piece that marks past and present human activity and stories at Strand-Aldwych
  • Nick Ryan is exploring the creation of a sound piece inspired by the birth of radio at the Strand.
  • Something and Son have proposed a new destination in London for listening, learning, and exchanging knowledge.
  • Matthew Rosier’s proposal looks to celebrate the people of Strand Aldwych through light and projection.
Updates over the Last Fortnight – 22.07.2021

On August 19th works will begin to switch Aldwych to two-way traffic on 22nd August. Strand will also become a pedestrian/cycle zone on 22nd August.

The new paving between Bush House West (Kings College), Bush House, Bush House’s vehicle gates and Bush House East (Kings College) is almost complete and the new paving outside No.1 Kingsway towards LSE is progressing well. Paving continues on the forecourt (outside St. Clement Danes Church) around the statue and the new landscape area.

Strand / Lancaster Place (Junction 1) – Works are currently taking place in the south east of the junction, closer to Café Nero:

  • The north west corner, between Wellington Street, Cellar Door Bar and the new pedestrian crossing outside No.1 Aldwych is almost complete.
  • Work is almost complete on the central traffic island on Strand, between Savoy Street and Wellington Street / Lancaster Place.
  • Excavations on the south east corner, outside Boots through to Crown Café Bar are ongoing. A new pedestrian crossing was opened outside Café Nero.

Aldwych / Kingsway (Junction 3) – Works are almost complete by the north west corner and soon will be moving to the north east section of the junction:

  • The new paving between Bush House West (Kings College), Bush House, Bush House’s vehicle gates and Bush House East (Kings College) is almost complete. 
  • The new paving outside No.1 Kingsway towards LSE is progressing well.
  • Excavations have commenced outside The Delaunay, with the first half of the works expected to be completed by 23rd July and the second half of the works by 30th July. Some fencing remains around the TfL bus shelter and bus flag outside The Delaunay while works are ongoing.

Strand  / Arundel St (Junction 5) – Works are taking place outside St Clement Danes Church, on the south arm of the junction, near Arundel Street, and also outside the Australian High Commission:.

  • Outside No.180, between Arundel Street and Surrey Street paving is ongoing.
  • Paving continues on the forecourt (outside St. Clement Danes Church) around the statue and the new landscape area.
  • Excavation works on Aldwych, outside Australia House, are ongoing with the area being levelled in preparation for paving and the new landscape / planting area, as well as for the crossing point towards St Clement Danes Church. Towards the junction with Strand, paving is almost complete.   

Temple Place (Arundel Court Scheme) 

  • Excavations for the new kerb line between Norfolk House and The Strand have progressed well and paving is ongoing.

Excavations are ongoing, excluding the area outside No.33, where further investigations are needed.

The live camera image below shows how work on the site is progressing. To view older images please pick a date from the calender.

How work is progressing

Villiers Street

Villiers Street, bounded to the east by the River Thames, is home to a concentration of prevalent visitor attractions and historic landmarks. Its location between two prominent transport hubs – the Embankment tube station and Charing Cross station, and the main entrance to the historic Victoria Embankment Gardens (Grade II* Park and Gardens) makes it a busy through-route, which is lined with retail and office buildings, restaurants and bars


Provide a street that is both visually inviting and pedestrian-friendly, supported by enhanced security and the temporary timed closures to
improve the look and feel of what is already a heavily used pedestrian space that will only benefit from the investment in the public realm and help to improve the way it is used.

Look and feel

The scheme extends from the Embankment Station side of the railway bridge on Embankment Place, through Villiers Street, and ends at the Strand. The preferred option that has been developed incorporates a timed pedestrian and cycle zone along the length of Villiers Street between
Embankment Place and John Adam Street, and full pedestrianisation on Villiers Street between John Adam street and the Strand.

The footway and carriageway within Villiers Street (between Embankment Place and John Adam Street) are proposed to be laid with granite setts.
The carriageway will be laid with an increased construction depth to allow for vehicle weight/ vehicle loading, as per Westminster Standards.
Embankment Station forecourt and the section of Villiers Street between John Adam Street and the Strand, will be paved with standard WCC specification ‘Scoutmoor’ yorkstone paving, to highlight the
dedicated pedestrian areas within the scheme.

No formal traffic lanes are proposed, and no formal loading bays are proposed on Villiers Street.
Traffic Management Order consultation (TMO consultation) will be completed in future stages. Equally, there will be no kerbs or road markings
within the pedestrianised zone, aside from the area outside Victoria Embankment Gardens, which is currently proposed to be bounded by a flush kerb.

A significant feature of the proposal is the removal of the existing steps outside the Victoria Embankment Gardens to unlock some additional space for pedestrian activity. This lowers the surface level near the road and places new relocated steps at the entrance to the gardens itself. Lowering the levels in this area is subject to further investigation regarding existing tree roots from within the gardens and the impact on the existing wall structure