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Leicester Square.

O and S Report April 2002

Page
1

City of Westminster















Date of
Meeting:

Title of Report



CITY
DEVELOPMENT
O
VERVIEW AND
SCRUTINY
COMMITTEE

3 April 2002

Leicester Square


CLASSIFICATION:

FOR GENERAL RELEASE

Report of


Director of Planning and
Transportation

Wards Involve
d

St James’s and West End


Policy Context

Civic Renewal Action 13: Leicester Square; with
implications for Civic Renewal actions in terms of
waste collection, anti
-
graffiti and flyposting, street
urination, CCTV, and one
-
stop services.

Financial Summary

There are no direct implications for existing budgets.



1.

Summary


1.1

This report updates the Panel on the initial results of the public
consultation on the Draft Action Plan for Leicester Square. A full
report with recommendations for appropriate amen
dments to the
action plan will be submitted to Cabinet on 15 April.


2.

Recommendations



2.1

That the Committee note the progress made to date on the
Leicester Square Draft Action Plan and make comments on the
issues arising for submission to Cabinet
.



Item No.



Leicester Square.

O and S Report April 2002

Page
2

3

Background


3.1

At its meeting on 21 January, 2002, Cabinet agreed to consult on a
Draft Action Plan for Leicester Square and confirmed support for a
range of initiatives that were being implemented over the period of
the consultation .


3.2

The Draft

Action Plan was launched by the Leader at the Odeon
Leicester Square on February 14. 4000 copies of a booklet and
questionnaire were distributed to local residents and businesses, a
public exhibition was mounted in the local Charing Cross library
and at
City Hall. A public meeting was held together with a further
12 meetings with a range of local and London
-
wide interest groups.
In addition nearly 300 written responses have been received
covering all the key areas included in the Draft Action plan.


3.3

T
he results of the consultation will be detailed in the forthcoming
Cabinet report, along with a revised Action Plan for Leicester
Square. A summary of the main issues raised is given in the Key
Issues section below.


3.4

At its meeting in October last year
, Cabinet agreed that for
Leicester Square the City Council should commit itself to:



a range of immediate initiatives in the Square, for which there is
already overwhelming support, with visible changes beginning to
be seen by December 2001



early discussi
ons with key partners on a long term vision for the
future



the production of a draft action plan for Leicester Square by early
in the New Year, drawing on the discussions with those partners



wide consultation on that draft action plan, with adoption of the

final version in the spring.


3.2

This programme is now nearing completion and we are entering the
next phase when, assuming that the revised Action Plan is adopted
by Cabinet, the focus will then be on implementing the agreed
projects. A business plan is bei
ng prepared that will provide the
mechanism for controlling the programming, funding and
expenditure for the remainder of the project and include targets for
sponsorship.


3.3

Throughout the consultations on the Draft Action Plan, officers
have worked closely
with the lead Member for Leicester Square,
ward Members, the Leicester Square Association, the Police, and
the Piccadilly Circus Partnership. Those discussions have shaped
the way consultations have been carried out and formed an
important input to the rev
ised action plan.




Leicester Square.

O and S Report April 2002

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3

4

Key Issues


4.1

Of the many issues identified in the Draft Action Plan the following
have attracted particular interest and comment.


Enforcement


4.2 Many respondents emphasised that the prerequisite for
successfully upgrading the Sq
uare was the continuation and
upgrading of the current street management and enforcement
regime as it currently applies to the Square. Areas of particular
concern included;

-

vehicles on the Square

-

graffiti and flyposting

-

litter

-

threat to the highway surface

from heavy vehicles

-

noise from buskers

-

street drinking

-

street fouling

-

tables and chairs

-

overall street crime levels


Alfresco dining


4.3 The concept of improving the quality of this activity and
reconfiguring the locations of tables and chairs was bro
adly
welcomed. Most responses highlighted the need to have adequate
supervision of the seated dining areas as key to their success. The
police gave the concept a cautious welcome but would only want it
to be introduced linked to improved management of th
e existing
alfresco areas.


The Gardens


4.4

The majority were broadly in favour of opening the gardens later,
subject to adequate lighting and increased levels of security. Some
would like to see the railings removed but more recognised the
threat this wo
uld present to the protection of the grass areas.



Chinatown
-

Lisle Street


4.5

The Chinese Business Association would like to see Lisle Street
included in the improvement scheme.




Funfair


4.6

A range of views expressed. A significant number of respon
dents
would like to see the environmental impact of the fair on the
Leicester Square.

O and S Report April 2002

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4

Square reduced, some would like to see it eliminated altogether.
The police took the view that this activity would always require
extra policing. These views will be taken on in the review

of the
contract with the funfair that will conclude in May.



Paving


4.7


The maintenance of the existing granite paving was highlighted as
an issue in the Draft Action Plan, although discussed in the
consultation it did not feature as a major concern..
The police
pointed out that the existing granite surface was not suitable for
police horses.


Wardens


4.8

The introduction of the warden service and closer liaison with the
police was welcomed, some questioned the level of powers that
were available.


CCT
V


4.9 The inclusion of Leicester Square in the West End CCTV network
was welcomed.


5
.

Financial Implications



5.1

There are no direct financial implications arising from the proposals

The Cabinet report will set out all the actions within the revised
Action Plan, identifying financial implications in each case. The
majority of the proposals can be achieved within existing budgets or
through a new approach to management and co
-
operative working.
Others could be achieved without City Council contribut
ion, through
effective use of planning agreements, co
-
operation with business,
and exploiting potential for income generation. The remainder are
likely to require additional funding and a business plan is being
prepared which will include a strategy for at
tracting support from
external sources with appropriate targets.


6.

Legal Implications


6.1

There are no legal implications arising directly from this report..

-


7 Staffing Implications


7.1

There are no staffing implications arising directly from this

report.


8

Consultation


Leicester Square.

O and S Report April 2002

Page
5

8.1

The lead Member for Leicester Square, and ward Members have
been closely involved in the development of the revised action plan.


8.2

The consultation process was central to the revision of the Action
Plan, it involved wide
public consultations the results of will be reported
to Cabinet.


9

Crime and Disorder Act


9.1

Addressing issues of crime and disorder, together with the Police
and others, is be key to the City Council’s approach, and runs
throughout the revised action pl
an.


10

Conclusion


10.1

This report seeks to give the Committee an overview as to the
progress that has been made with regard to developing and
implementing the draft action plan for Leicester Square. The report.
to Cabinet will seek their support the revised
action plan as a basis
for taking forward an integrated approach to improving the
environment and management of activities of Leicester Square.




IF YOU HAVE ANY QUERIES ABOUT THIS REPORT OR WISH
TO INSPECT ANY OF THE BACKGROUND PAPERS, PLEASE
CONTACT


M
ichael Begley on 020 7641 3339


e
-
mail: mbegleyl@westminster.gov.uk