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5th Studio reveals Westminster socially distanced streets vision

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5th Studio has drawn up a series of proposals to roll out social distancing on busy retail and leisure streets throughout the City of Westminster in central London

The practice won a competitive City of Westminster Council tender to draw up public realm visions for Paddington, Edgware Road and Maida Vale, but the job was extended earlier this year to include a post-pandemic redesign of other key streets across the borough.

Proposals for areas including Soho, Covent Garden, Marylebone and Mayfair include new options for outdoor dining, enlarging pavements areas and introducing the timed closure of certain roads to allow dining on former carriageways.

Key aims include allowing bars, clubs and restaurants to reopen safely as lockdown rules relax after 4 July, when a gradual reopening of such social spaces will begin. Road closures have already been introduced in Covent Garden and the local authority is currently focusing on fast-tracking licensing for outdoor dining.

According to a statement from the practice: ‘Westminster is the social heart of London, and businesses in the borough produce 3 per cent of Britain’s GDP. These temporary measures are aimed at allowing businesses to re-open from 4 July.

‘5th Studio’s work on public realm improvements have focused initially on Soho, but will also cover Covent Garden, Marylebone and Mayfair. The work is developing options for al fresco dining, extending pavement space and in some cases allowing timed closure of roads to allow dining in the space of the street.’

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