17 January 2023 | Pimlico public realm scheme: have your say!
Westminster City Council is consulting on improvements to Warwick Way and Churton Street. Now is the time to give the Council your views on this proposed investment in our area.
Background and Vision
Over the last 20 years, Pimlico’s population has increased by a third, but our main shopping streets have had little public or private investment to keep pace with this. Residents told us they want to be able to do more of their shopping and dining in Pimlico, rather than having to travel outside the area.
The vision for Pimlico in the Neighbourhood Plan calls for improving the public spaces around the shopping areas to make the environment for our local businesses more favourable.
“improve the physical environment of the pavement and the areas immediately adjacent to it. Where possible, there should be a reduction in space dedicated to parking and utility clutter, increasing space for pedestrians or people sitting outside cafés whilst reducing the amount of stop-start driving and cars changing lane because of the road layout.”
In Spring 2022, the Council proposed options for improving some of the shopping streets in North Pimlico, improving on the hospitality scheme opened in June 2020. Since then, they have been carrying out studies and investigations, have come up with improvement scheme for Warwick Way/Upper Tachbrook Street and Churton Street and they are now consulting on a specific proposal.
The Forum Steering Group support this proposal as well as calling for further improvements to Wilton Road (which has had no investment in public space for over 20 years). We want an improvement in the range and health of the businesses in our area to meet the needs of all residents, without creating a major “destination” attracting too much traffic into what is primarily a residential area different from Victoria and Belgravia to the north.
Why you should support the scheme
The Council is consulting on a substantial investment (over £2 million) in hard landscaping. This is the biggest offer for Pimlico public realm for very many years and we are very lucky indeed to have the chance to get anything like this in our area.
We want better shopping streets, with a good mix of healthy, well-run businesses. Having a well-designed, high quality and welcoming public realm will help support our existing shops, encourage new businesses into the area and can reduce crime.
We need easy access for those who live in and visit our area, but we don’t need the vehicles that just drive straight on right through Pimlico. The Council’s traffic study shows that the current one-way scheme has diverted a lot of this unwanted ‘through traffic’ out of Pimlico completely and the proposals seek to improve on this further.
You can make sure that Pimlico’s view has the most weight. While there is strong local support, there is some opposition, including from outside Pimlico, but no convincing alternative proposal for helping Pimlico. So please support the scheme and respond positively to the consultation.
How you can support the scheme
The Council has provided a good consultation website with maps and pictures to show what the scheme would look like: www.westminster.gov.uk/warwick-way-public-realm-consultation.
The response survey is at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/warwickwayconsultation. It is very quick to complete. However, if you want, there are also comment boxes for any suggestions or concerns on specific aspects.
Specific details you may want to consider…
- Pavement quality: we really want to get proper natural (York) stone rather than concrete paving. This is important, so please consider putting this in the survey ‘comments’ box. We would not want Pimlico to be disadvantaged by having inferior quality materials to other shopping streets in nearby areas.
- Carriageway: there is an interesting suggestion that the road surface should be a lighter colour – some other streets in Westminster now have had a beige surface applied which both reduces heat and acts as a reminder to drivers that they are entering a zone with significant pedestrian traffic. Again, if you like this idea, please put in the comments box.
- The additional new trees: would be a good thing. The new trees will be sited in the new pavement extension area, so away from under pavement vaults. In Churton Street, we want Edinburgh silver birches to match the existing trees. Do you want the same type of tree in Warwick Way?
- Loading bays: obviously businesses will have a particular interest in the siting of loading and pay bays. Do you have a view on how many minutes should be allowed in the loading bays? The loading bays along Warwick Way currently allow at least 30 minutes, should some be reduced to 20 minutes?
- Anything else you feel the Council should know or would like to ask for? Now is the time to tell them and ask!
Don’t let Pimlico miss out!
Even if you have concerns over the specifics of either Churton Street or Warwick Way, please do support the scheme overall. There should be further consultation in 2023 on the final detailed plans, but we need a strong positive response to the survey now to get to the next stage.