A large chunk of Soho could be pedestrianised this summer to help local cafes and restaurants spread out their tables and attract back customers.

The presumptive 2-metre rule would mean that most food and drinks establishments would have to operate with just a third of their normal customer capacity, which in many cases would mean it’s just not worth the effort of opening at all.

John James, the managing director of Soho Estates says that under the proposed rules, at “least a third of existing restaurants would not survive another quarter”.

If the venues can spread out over the streets – then they get extra space for more tables to make opening the venues more likely.

At the moment, not only with the small venues struggling to have enough customers, the narrow pavements and busy streets make for a difficult environment to socially distance, so taking over the roads would give people space to spread out sensibly, and give the area some of the atmosphere that it needs to show off that life is returning to some semblance of normality.

Soho Estates, the property empire built up by Paul Raymond’s Revuebar is working with the Soho Summer Street Festival to persuade Westminster Council that this is a viable idea.

If they get the go-ahead, then the following streets could be closed for the summer months.

  • Soho Square
  • Carlisle Street
  • Bateman Street
  • Old Compton Street
  • Greek street
  • Frith Street
  • Dean Street
  • Moor Street
  • Romilly Street


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  1. ChrisC says:

    Ok but must just be for pedestrians and not cyclists and skateboards etc

    Obviously needs to be made for deliveries )but should not be beying the wit of man or woman to organise these for speific hours) and the less mobile.

  2. Theo says:

    Why not cyclists and skateboards, they take up far less room?

    Anyway I recall last time they did this taxi drivers and local businesses were up in arms.

  3. Susan Wilson says:

    Loving the idea!

  4. Steve Cahill says:

    Sanitised the area,,,, good luck with your project. Soho doesn’t have the edge like years ago. But I’m of an age when sweat dripped off ceilings of basement clubs

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