Heart of London Business Alliance (HOLBA), the Business Improvement District (BID) which represents one of the most culturally rich areas in the world, has unveiled its manifesto for the next five years, with a program of activities to help the West End to recover and thrive from the pandemic as a global cultural and commercial powerhouse.
The centerpiece of the BID business plan – End West 2027 – is its shaping strategy, which includes over 40 potential projects, with five immediate priority projects, all designed to preserve and enhance the unique character of the central London district.
Public realm plans will include the creation of a new arts district in the network of small streets behind the National Gallery, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. The Arts Quarter is expected to generate around £1bn of investment as development opportunities arise.
HOLBA is also proposing the transformation of Green Park to create a world-class welcome for visitors as they arrive on Piccadilly, and to transform Charing Cross Road into a tree-lined boulevard to accommodate the estimated 80% increase in the number of people arriving in the region via the Elisabeth Line. Allée St Martin and rue Sackville will also be transformed to reflect the quality of businesses in the area.
Ros Morgan, Managing Director of Heart of London Business Alliance, said: “Central London is renowned as the commercial and cultural heart of the UK and our aim is to protect and promote it on behalf of our members, consolidating it as the largest city in the world to live, visit, work, trade and invest.
“We have grown not only in terms of the area we cover and the companies we represent, but also in terms of influence and ability to bring about positive change. Although we are a not-for-profit organization, we operate with a business sense and relentlessly pursue great returns for our members.
“We are committed to ensuring that the West End comes back from the pandemic even stronger than before.
“Part of our strategy is to bring culture to the streets and integrate art into the built environment, which is based on the idea that having spaces in the West End will be more important than ever. in which people will want to return, especially as the visitation of workers and tourists increases.
London’s creative economy is worth £52 billion and the West End is home to over 300 cultural institutions, including art galleries, theaters and music venues. Recognizing that this unique ecosystem will play an important role in the UK’s recovery from the pandemic, HOLBA has put in place a comprehensive cultural strategy to connect businesses and cultural players within the heart of London region to promote the region as the cultural heart of London. The result of this cultural strategy has already included the London arta new cultural initiative for the West End, championing the cultural sector, celebrating art in all its forms and showcasing the vital role culture plays in society.
The Cultural Heart of London launched with Art of London’s first summer 2021 season, featuring one of the biggest public art takeovers in the world. The events and activations have all been supported by some of London’s leading art institutions including the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, alongside Sky Arts, Westminster City Council and the Mayor of London.
HOLBA’s business plan further commits to working with the government to drive policy change that will help London maintain its status as a global city.
Ballots were distributed on February 3, 2022 and must be returned by 5 p.m. on March 3, 2022. Results will be announced on March 4, 2022.