Westminster City Council has published updated and ambitious plans to support the re-opening of the hospitality sector in the heart of London – with innovative measures to create safe outdoor dining spaces for the summer months.
The plans, which include temporary permission for restaurants and cafes to set up tables and chairs outdoors alongside "soft" road closures, were given the green light by councillors today following an intensive engagement programme with residents, businesses, and local stakeholders. This has seen many positive changes introduced since the original plans were published last week in response to the detailed feedback received.
These come alongside a suite of measures introduced by the council to help invigorate some of London's busiest and most famous hospitality areas in the run-up to July 4th.
Soho, Chinatown, Covent Garden, and Mayfair are among the areas targeted as part of a continental makeover of the West End.
Safety has been the leading consideration in forming the plans – with social distancing measures and consideration of government public health message central to each initiative.
Cllr Rachael Robathan, Leader of Westminster City Council, said:
"The hospitality sector is one of the driving forces behind Westminster's economy and the reason so many come to the West End each and every day, so as lockdown measures begin to ease, it is vital that we help to get it back up and running safely.”
“It’s important to note that these plans are fluid and residents and our local business are at the heart of our approach, so we will continue to listen to feedback and will not hesitate to make changes if things are not working for everyone. This includes – as a last resort – withdrawing permissions if there are ongoing issues. This journey to the new normal for our hospitality sector is one that we will take together and we are grateful for the thousands of comments we received to help shape our plans.
“The West End in particular is a unique global draw, and I am confident we can give it and our other famous locations a continental feel that visitors, residents and regulars alike can enjoy in safety.”
As well as providing permissions to move services outdoors, the council will work with local businesses to ensure that they can re-open safely and implement social distancing measures effectively. There are also plans for local 'delivery hubs' to help consolidate essential deliveries and waste collections, as well as marshalling and social distancing measures to keep visitors and residents safe.
As implementation begins to take place, consultation will continue with local residents, business, and stakeholders. Premises will also be monitored and marshalled and updates and changes will be made if required as further lockdown measures ease and more and more people return to the city’s streets.
To read the council’s comprehensive brochure of proposals for opening the hospitality industry in the West End visit : westminster.gov.uk/reopening-westminsters-hospitality-sector