June 22, 2012
A major advantage of a Business Improvement District company is its unique position to act as a catalyst for change. It will be able to bring together private freeholders, service operators such as Transport for London and the public sector such as the City Council in joint public realm endeavours.
To be effective these improvements need to enhance and develop the special character areas that already exist in the District.
London is made up of hundreds of very distinct areas, each with its own character and identity that people can easily recognise. The Northbank Business Improvement District has at least five.
Trafalgar Square is a world famous destination – a place built for public assemblies.
The Strand is a bustling high street with a wide variety of activities, including theatres, churches and world famous hotels. There are opportunities to improve its quality.
The Strand / Aldwych area was rebuilt a century ago to a heroic imperial set-piece design. It houses two world famous universities: Kings and the LSE. There is potential to make more of the outdoor spaces in the area, extending the innovative uses of the courtyard of Somerset House.
The river frontage gardens were created in the 1870’s. They are the setting for the iconic views of the Northbank. Though parts are well looked after, there are opportunities to make them more welcoming with green links.
Finally there is the Villiers Street / Embankment Place area. As well as being home to the largest commercial company in the BID, it now receives a footfall far in excess of that anticipated when the area was last refurbished some thirty years ago. It is in real need of immediate improvement.