Ambitious plans to transform the Strand Aldwych into a world-class cultural and learning quarter have taken a significant step forward after receiving strong public support in a recent consultation.
As an iconic gateway to the West End, the area is home to an extraordinary number of cultural, educational, creative institutions and many businesses with established residential neighbourhoods nearby. However, the area also suffers from significant challenges – poor public spaces and safety, traffic congestion and air quality issues – which means those who live, work or visit get a poor experience.
That’s why the council has been working with local organisations over many years to develop proposals, including with the Northbank Business Improvement District, to address these challenges and create a world-class destination at Strand Aldwych, backed by £28m of council investment to deliver this exciting vision.
Making it easier and safer to get around by removing the gyratory, introducing two-way traffic in Aldwych and removing it from part of the Strand.
Improving public spaces across the whole area with an amazing new plaza proposed around St Mary Le Strand Church.
Improving connections to South Bank, Covent Garden and the West End.
Creating a cultural and learning quarter by joining up the world-renowned organisations and institutions in the area and supporting them to showcase their amazing offer.
Tackling air quality issues as well as improving facilities for walking and cycling.
A consultation was held earlier this year that was seeking views on concept designs yielded the following results:
Over seven in ten consultation respondents (73%) are in support of the objectives (with 55% expressing strong support).
The most common reasons cited for supporting the plans related to the proposals to address air quality, support for doing more for cyclists and improvements for pedestrians
The most common concerns related to traffic, especially worries that plans would increase congestion elsewhere, cyclist safety and air quality.
Following these positive consultation results, detailed design work will take place over the summer ahead of a further public engagement scheduled for early next year.
Cllr Richard Beddoe, Cabinet Member for Planning and Place Shaping, said:
“We’re pleased with the very positive reaction to our ambitious plans from the public consultation. This historic gateway into the West End is home to some of the capital’s most famous cultural and academic institutions, as well as a major leisure destination in its own right
with landmark theatres, hotels and other attractions and needs to be dramatically improved.
“We are using all the detailed feedback we have received to inform the much more detailed design work that will take place through the summer and autumn, ahead of a further public engagement planned early next year. We look forward to continuing to work with local groups to make sure we can deliver a world-class scheme that benefits Westminster and London for many years to come.”
Ruth Duston, OBE, OC, Chief Executive of The Northbank Business Improvement District, said:
“We are proudly working with Westminster on this vital project. The proposals will deliver a significant transformation for The Northbank, helping to cement the area’s growing reputation as a leisure hub; with better access and connectivity, a more pleasant environment and the creation of a major new public space in the heart of the capital.”