Wednesday 15 September 2021 12:58 pm

Covent Garden al fresco to stay as Council considers long-term future for Soho

Covent Garden’s al fresco revival is set to continue after Westminster City Council approved a continuation of the outdoor dining scheme that has proven a lifeline for hospitality businesses in the area.

And whilst the road closures that allowed Soho to become an outdoor festival over recent months will come to an end on September 30, the Council has said a replacement scheme will be devised in conjunction with local residents.

Both mark wins for the hospitality industry, which had feared the al fresco revolution would come to an end due to heavy-handed bureaucracy.

St. John’s Wood will also see the current one-way system and pavement widening, which has allowed for more outdoor dining and drinking, to remain.

King St, Henrietta St and Maiden Lane are amongst the Covent Garden areas to keep al fresco permissions.

The decision to take a more liberal approach to outdoor dining, and to shut roads allowing on-street furniture, has widely been considered one of the few positive things to come out of the pandemic.

Cllr Matthew Green, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Business, Licensing and Planning, said, “Covent Garden has always been one of London’s top destinations for hospitality and St. John’s Wood offers world-class eateries on a bustling local high street.

“We’re really pleased that residents and businesses have voted in favour of keeping al fresco. Thanks to residents and businesses working together, Westminster is proud to be able to support the continuation of outdoor dining in these areas.”

The future of Soho’s outdoor dining scene is dependent on the outcome of a consultation with residents and local businesses.

City A.M. understands the Council expects the consultation to explore the possibility of long-term al fresco plans in the entertainment district.

Read more: End of the road: Soho’s al fresco festival to end in September