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More streets in Westminster will continue al fresco dining

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A waitress serving some customers who are eating outside in Soho

Published: 30 September 2021

  • Pimlico, Eccleston, Elizabeth Street and North Audley Street residents and businesses agree to continue temporary al fresco dining

  • This follows on from resident endorsements of the extension of al fresco in Covent Garden and St. John’s Wood High Street

  • Westminster Council has supported nearly 900 business, bars and restaurants to provide outdoor dining with pavement licences

Many streets in Pimlico, Belgravia and Mayfair will continue to have al fresco dining, following an overwhelming positive response to consultations on the future of the scheme in Westminster.

Al fresco dining has again proved to be a hit with residents and businesses in the city after Westminster City Council supported licensed businesses by providing space for outdoor dining during the pandemic. Following a month-long consultation, the council has received feedback from residents and businesses on Warwick Way, Denbigh Street and Churton Street in Pimlico, plus Elizabeth and Eccleston Streets in Belgravia and North Audley Street in Mayfair.

The scheme in Pimlico received 83% of positive responses from residents and businesses who agreed they would like the current al fresco measures to continue until a permanent solution has been subject to a full consultation. Eccleston received 96% of respondents agreeing to keep the temporary outdoor measures, while Elizabeth Street was 93% and North Audley Street was 94%.

This follows on from the recent consultation on the Covent Garden and St. John’s Wood schemes. More than 80% of respondents voted in favour of al fresco measures remaining in these areas.

The Council is also exploring the possibility of introducing longer term al fresco schemes in other areas, including Soho. These schemes are being mapped out in partnership with local communities and will only go ahead with the support of residents. Consultation began in July and a second workshop is taking place on Thursday (30 September) to discuss residents’ and businesses’ objectives for Soho, including the future of outdoor dining.

Westminster City Council acted quickly last year to enable outdoor seating in roads and widened pavements during the summer, and the scheme continued in the winter months. When restaurants reopened in April this year, the council helped nearly 900 businesses, bars and restaurants to open to outdoor diners by implementing al fresco dining.

During the summer, around 60 streets benefited from either pavement widening, temporary closure of roads and parking bays to allow tables and chairs to be set-up for outdoor restaurant seating in the street.

Cllr Matthew Green, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Business, Licensing and Planning, said:

We’re really pleased residents and businesses want to keep al fresco in more areas across the city, following the positive response to the schemes in Covent Garden and St. John’s Wood.

It’s no exaggeration to say that outdoor dining has saved many businesses from closure - creating more than 17,000 additional covers across Westminster. We are proud to be able to support the continuation of al fresco dining and will work closely with residents and businesses as we explore permanent schemes.

We’ve always said that we’ll only continue al fresco in areas of the city where there is resident support and I’m pleased that residents have been overwhelmingly in favour in Covent Garden, St. John’s Wood and parts of Belgravia and Mayfair.

I’m also pleased that al fresco will continue in already pedestrianised parts of the city such as Chinatown. We have also started the process of engaging on whether appropriate al fresco dining can be incorporated into Soho in a way that works for everyone. That’s why we’re working with Soho residents and businesses to design a scheme that will go out for consultation towards the end of this year.