Five renowned areas of the capital have been safeguarded by a new policy introduced by Westminster council.
The policy will allow it to reject planning proposals that threaten the character of the city's well-known areas.
The policy regulations won't dictate if a particular business can rent a property, but instead, will prevent a developer or lease holder from changing its use. So a shop couldn't be transformed into a residential property.
The council said it wants to protect specialist traders and prevent too many global brands appearing and changing the make-up of some of the capital's "most recognisable streets".
A number of antique dealers have disappeared from Mayfair and St James's in recent years as commercial pressure has led to traders shutting up shop. This policy aims to make sure the areas retain their historic identity.
Councillor Robert Davis MBE DL said: "The 17.5m people who visit London each year come to experience our capital's distinctive character. It's unthinkable that world renowned destinations such as Savile Row, which is synonymous with quality tailoring, could become indistinguishable from any other high street around the world."
David said the council was using its powers "to protect some of the capital's most valuable assets" and create an environment for specialist traders to thrive.
The five special policy areas (SPA):
- Savile Row SPA – will encourage retail use that is unique, bespoke, limited edition or one of a kind
- The Mayfair SPA – will support and enhance the area’s international reputation as a centre for the art trade by protecting existing art galleries and antique traders
- The Harley Street SPA – will support and enhance the role of the area as an international centre of medical excellence
- Portland Place SPA – seeks to support the existing character and function of the area by encouraging the continued use of the large historic buildings by prestigious institutional organisations e.g. embassies
- The St James’s SPA – to protect its character as a centre of prestige, including its art galleries and niche luxury and specialist retail such as shirt making on Jermyn Street
Mapping out the SPAs: