Some of Westminster's most iconic areas have been protected thanks to a new council policy.
Westminster’s ‘Special Policy Areas’ come into effect today, ensuring that 5 historically and culturally significant parts of London including Savile Row, Mayfair, Harley Street, St James’ and Portland Place remain home to the world leading industries that put them on the map.
Savile Row, the global home of bespoke tailoring, is set to benefit as the new measures will allow Westminster City Council to reject planning proposals which threaten the character of some of the city’s most iconic attractions.
The move comes as the council seeks to protect specialist traders and prevent an invasion of global brands which threaten to change the make-up of some of the capital’s most recognisable streets.
A number of antiques dealers have disappeared from Mayfair and St James’ in recent years with commercial pressure forcing traders to close their doors. The policy will help ensure that these areas retain their historic identity.
Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL, Westminster City Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Built Environment, said: “Like a good suit, planning policy should be made to measure.
“The 17.5 million people who visit London each year come to experience our capital’s distinctive character. It’s unthinkable that world renowned destinations such as Savile Row, which is synonymous with quality tailoring, could become indistinguishable from any other high street around the world.
“Our historic tailors and art traders are coming under intense pressure from other disparate uses eager to rent in the area. We are using our powers to protect some of the capital’s most valuable assets and create environments where specialist traders can thrive.
“Special Policy Areas will ensure we retain and nurture the world leading expertise that made these areas famous in the first place.”
Mark Henderson, Chairman of Gieves and Hawkes said: “I’m pleased that Westminster City Council have taken action to protect specialist traders on Savile Row.
“As one of the area’s oldest tailors, we’re proud of our road’s unique status, which attracts the best talent and brings us clients from across the world.
“It’s a reputation that has been built through 100s of years of history and combined experience which makes our trade truly irreplaceable.
“It would be a disaster if all that heritage were lost and the tailors lining our road today were replaced by retailers found on every high-street in the country. Special Policy Area status will help ensure we remain home to the world’s finest bespoke tailors.”