A new taskforce will be set up to help encourage more footfall to London’s historic Strand district, after home working hit local shops and left office space vacant, City A.M. has learned.
The Strand West Taskforce is made up of representatives from Westminster city council, Transport for London (TfL) and the Northbank Business Improvement District (BID) and will establish a five-year investment plan for the area.
The coalition will aim to increase the number of al fresco dining spots, tackle historic barriers to leasing and boost footfall with a packed programme of events.
It will also introduce a series of pop-ups, allowing retailers and businesses to temporarily set up shop in empty office space.
The Strand is well known for its mix of theatres, galleries and hotels, but a combination of Covid-19 and the subsequent shift towards home working has left some retailers in the lurch.
Ruth Duston, chief executive of Northbank BID, said: “Like many places across the country, the Northbank was hit hard by Covid-19, with retail and leisure hurt by lockdown and new hybrid working models impacting footfall.”
“But the reality is that demand for street-level space was changing across the city pre-pandemic, largely due to increased competition from e-commerce and shifting expectations of consumers for the overall environment and experience.”
“This is the next step in our ambitious vision for Northbank BID, creating a more vibrant district for future generations and celebrating its historic place in the heart of London.”
Westminster city councillor James Small-Edwards said: “The Strand has a rich heritage and it is fantastic to see this initiative bringing an even greater sense of identity, as well as increased investment, to the area.”