// Shaftesbury plans to implement temporary road closures in Seven Dials to help boost footfall in London’s West End
// Aim is to support retailers, restaurants, bars and cafes as they reopen as they exit lockdown
// Large areas of central London are suffering from low footfall due to office closures & fewer tourists
Swathes of the Seven Dials retail precinct in London’s West End is set to be pedestrianised in order to boost footfall now that lockdown is over, according to new proposals.
Property firm Shaftesbury revealed plans to implement temporary road closures in Seven Dials from August 3, as part of a programme to support retail and hospitality tenants and encourage Londoners to safely shop and visit the West End amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Working in partnership with Camden Council, Shaftesbury’s plans include using a series of timed road closures to put pedestrians and cyclists first during core daytime trading hours for food & beverage operators and retailers.
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The timed closures will operate from 10am to 6pm, seven days a week, and will be controlled by a combination of droppable and/or plug-in barriers and the Seven Dials security team.
In addition to the road closures, Shaftesbury said it was implementing a one-way system for pedestrians visiting the historic Neal’s Yard courtyard, and install additional cycle parking throughout Seven Dials.
The plans come as large areas of central London continues to suffer from low footfall despite lockdown restrictions easing, due to office closures and fewer tourists.
Shaftesbury said it was also in discussion with Camden Council to allow food & beverage operators to utilise Seven Dials’ pedestrianised streets to provide outdoor seating areas, much like how Westminster Council allowed for nearby Soho.
“The timed road closures in Seven Dials are a significant step in helping all our restaurants, bars, cafés and retailers rebuild as the lockdown eases and footfall begins to grow,” Shaftesbury portfolio executive Charles Owen said.
“The combination of open-air streets and, in effect, wider footways, will make Seven Dials an even safer and more enjoyable experience for visitors and residents.
“We have worked closely with Camden Council to devise the plans, which received very strong support from members and officers.
“While the Camden community, its businesses and residents are facing challenges, working together like this will help ensure everyone thrives once again.”
Shaftesbury said it was also working in collaboration with an artist to add vibrancy to the traffic-free streets with a series of art works located throughout Seven Dials.
The news follows the announcement that Shaftesbury is moving to monthly rents across its portfolio.