Berwick Street

Progress is now being made to achieve the objective of revitalising and upgrading Berwick St Market and the surrounding streets.

The Council is in discussions with an experienced developer with a view to investing both in the market and Public Realm whilst maintaining the unique character and tenant mix of the shops.

If all goes well a lease of the shops and offices will be granted which will ensure the necessary investment to improve and revitalize the market and surrounding areas.

The Evening Standard picked up on this last week and although no transaction has yet been agreed a copy of the article is below and a link to it is attached. 

Dying Soho market to be made into vibrant 'village high street'

The heart of Soho will be transformed into a bustling "village high street" under plans drawn up by Westminster council.

The authority wants to regenerate the historic but struggling Berwick Street fruit and vegetable market as a food thoroughfare for locals and tourists.

Local ward councillor Jonathan Glanz, who is also cabinet member for planning, said: "The plans we've been working on aim to revitalise the market and make it fit for the 21st century so that Berwick Street's status as Soho's high street can be restored."

The council is believed to be close to appointing veteran property developer Peter Beckwith's PMB Holdings as its preferred partner in the scheme.

Mr Glanz said Berwick Street needed major infrastructure investment including access to water and electricity for traders and providing proper storage for stalls.

The market, which dates from 1778, attracts only a fraction of the trade that it drew in its heyday after the Second World War, when the market was known for offering "exotic" foods such as olive oil that were then unavailable on high streets. Just a handful of traders now survive in an area that is a notorious haunt for drug dealers and prostitutes after dark.

Mr Glanz added: "It's just a shame that something that offers a direct route between Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus isn't working for whatever reason. It provides a wonderful opportunity to draw people into streets that are less polluted.

"The existing fruit and vegetable stalls provide a useful service to local people and we certainly wouldn't want to scare them away in favour of some organic, hand-knitted chi-chi option."

But Terry Townsend, 49, who has run a fruit stall on the market for 30 years, said: "I'm not at all optimistic, I'm a realist. There's not enough people walking through here. Twenty years ago, it would take you 15 minutes to walk down here. Now you can have a game of cricket and you won't hit anyone."

This entry was posted on Monday, 10 October 2011 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed.