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Success of Soho's alfresco revolution sees October extension approved

28 September 2020 by
Success of Soho's alfresco revolution sees October extension approved

Soho's alfresco revolution has been extended until the end of October, after it was credited with seeing hospitality sales rebound by to up to 80% of pre-Covid levels following lockdown.

Changes to allow restaurants to operate with increased outdoor seating following the Covid-19 lockdown saw London's Westminster City Council close Bateman, Frith and Old Compton streets to vehicles between 5pm and 11pm from Monday to Friday and from midday on Saturdays and Sundays.

The measures, which were due to end this week, had been described as "magical" by operators, who saw relatively strong levels of trade, while other areas of the West End suffered.

In a letter to businesses Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said: "Looking forward, we want to build on what we have successfully achieved together.

"We will keep working with residents, businesses and other key partners to identify local schemes that could benefit specific locations at certain times throughout the year in a safe manner that adhere to all current guidelines. This could include supporting events such as Christmas fairs or alfresco dining at certain times where it suits an area and enjoys local support."

Many operators in the area had called for the measures to be extended, or even made permanent.

In August John James, managing director of Soho Estates, said: "The positive feedback from both Soho operators and customers has been overwhelming following the pedestrianisation of Soho. It has allowed the area to come back to life and return to the buzzy Soho we all know and love."

Picture: Shutterstock

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