A project that matters ...
Church Street, next to Marylebone Station, was once a shopping haunt for the well-to-do. It is now the site of Westminster City Council’s largest regeneration project to date.
Church Street: A capital plan for change
“We want to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents. The masterplan, which guides development for the next 15-20 years, will ensure we achieve this. It is ambitious, transformative and deliverable, it brings inclusive growth and the right kind of development to the heart of the capital.”
Ambitious, transformative, deliverable
In the 19th century, Mary Ann Evans, better known as the writer George Eliot, used to shop on Church Street, buying from its bustling markets every week.
However, the years have not been generous and although Church Street borders some of the capital’s wealthiest areas, local residents have experienced social and economic exclusion, resulting in poorer health outcomes and lower than London-average employment rates. Ringed by major roads and transport infrastructure, the area lacks quality open spaces.
The site itself is complex and highly constrained. It is surrounded by conservation areas and listed buildings.
On the plus side, Church Street has a strong and cohesive community that is devoted to the neighbourhood and eager to benefit from fresh opportunities.
Westminster City Council wants to make Church Street the borough’s most liveable Ward with an ambitious masterplan, by LDA Design and PBA, that seeks to improve the lives of residents, providing good jobs, better connectivity and creating a heathier, happier, more prosperous place to live.
Although bordering wealthier areas, Church Street itself has experienced economic deprivation.
Play spaces are few and poor in quality.
An ambitious plan for change
A new landscape-led masterplan is set to be a pivotal model for tackling serious social and economic exclusion. It is designed to transform the area’s fortunes, restoring its renown for trading, and creating 1,750 new homes and 40 per cent more publicly accessible space, right in the heart of central London.
The new vision for Church Street connects people to place, building on the area’s existing character and encouraging growth and inclusion. In a statement describing their ambitions for Church Street, Westminster City Council said they were committed to creating a ‘city for all’.
The masterplan will add a diverse range of new homes to meet local needs, as well as creating a vibrant new cultural quarter. Other headline features include: an improved street market with up to 220 stalls; a community centre and a health and wellbeing hub; flexible and affordable workspace; a new cultural quarter centred on the antiques market and Cockpit Theatre, and new and improved retail.
Designed to enable
A myriad of meaningful conversations with those who live, work and study in the area informed design thinking for Church Street. Investment of time and energy in this part of process resulted in a rich understanding of the aspirations of local businesses and what residents need to live their lives well.
Local concerns included air quality and affordability. Proposals for a new cultural quarter were met with enthusiasm. Events to put Church Street on the map once again included a successful trial for a weekend antiques market.
The masterplan will revive Church Street’s long trading history, with a massively improved market offer.
Four key drivers
The Church Street masterplan aims for:
- Better health and wellbeing by creating new community facilities, including a healthy living hub on Lisson Grove, along with safe and inviting shared open spaces. New green streets will make cycling and walking easier. A flexible market square is set to become a popular community space. A new public square will be created opposite the Cockpit Theatre. Eight per cent of local people supported a new health and wellbeing hub
- Quality homes for more people by delivering a mixed-range of affordable and sustainable new homes. Greater density will help drive the quality of life for local people. A brief for each housing development will lift overall design quality. Massing and scale have been carefully considered to create a sense of arrival and place.
- A thriving local economy with an improved retail offer, successful markets including antiques and lively public realm. A new food quarter near bustling Edgware Road will draw footfall into Church Street, through the day and into the evening. Flexible workspaces will support a new wave of entrepreneurs and start-ups.
- Improved connections by setting out clearly defined routes through the area, linking key community assets and embedding Church Street into the wider neighbourhood. A new pedestrian-priority street will connect Lisson Grove to Edgware Road.
A bold, bright working future
The Church Street masterplan is a framework for inclusive growth that makes greater density work hard for existing communities, leading to a safer, more social place to live. It is designed to deliver tangible benefits quickly for local people. Phased delivery is critical to its success.
The plan was unanimously approved by Westminster City Council.