The Strand could be about to get a radical makeover thanks to a series of proposals put forward by the Northbank Business Improvement District (BID) and urban design consultancy Publica.
These include the redesign of the gyratory around Aldwych, as well as a new riverside promenade along Victoria Embankment.
The changes to the Northbank area, which stretches from Trafalgar Square to the Royal Courts of Justice, are designed to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists and make the environment more welcoming and safer.
It will also ensure that the area's public spaces improve in line with future infrastructure projects such as the Garden Bridge, the cycle superhighway and the Thames Tideway tunnel.
Work is already underway on a number of projects and the BID has secured the initial funding for the Aldwych gyratory project.
The BID will now undertake a consultation process with a range of stakeholders such as Westminster City Council and Transport for London,
There are five "families" of projects covering all areas of the Northbank: Aldwych, Strand, Victoria Embankment, Villiers Street and then lanes, courts and smaller spaces.
The priority projects, out of a total of 40, are:
- Reconfiguration of the Aldwych gyratory, prioritising pedestrians and reducing the impact of traffic;
- The creation of a new landmark public space in between Aldwych and Somerset House around the St-Mary-le-Strand church
- Upgrading crossings to improve connections between key destinations and areas within our footprint;
- Creating a world-class urban promenade created to help improve both the river front and the historical ceremonial route of Strand and Aldwych
- De-cluttering key areas such as Charing Cross station forecourt
- Lighting and shopfront upgrades along the Strand, reinvigorating the night-time economy of the area
Ruth Duston, chief executive of The Northbank Business Improvement District said: "The Northbank combines all the elements that make London a great global city, yet despite its considerable assets the public realm has long let the area down.
"Pedestrians are poorly served, vehicles currently dominate and public spaces have been forgotten."
"Businesses understand that high quality public realm is vital for an area to thrive – it matters to employees and to customers, so therefore it matters to the ‘bottom line’."
"The Northbank’s Public Realm Strategy sets out our long term, deliverable vision – addressing the challenges, responding to the new developments in the area, meeting the requirements of businesses, visitors and residents and ensuring that The Northbank can reach its true potential as one of London’s most vibrant, commercially successful district."