Term 3. News story for Circus group magazine.

 Putting the buzz back into Berwick

As the end of 2018 anticipated completion of 90-04 Berwick Street redevelopment rings closer, talk turns to the future of Soho’s most beloved high street.

The scheme proposes 16 new homes, a hotel, 11 retail units on Berwick Street and 1 retail unit on Hopkins Street as well as general improvement to Kemp House.

2015 saw the start of the redevelopment and fears for the Soho populace began circulating – would this facelift corrode Soho’s convivial and charming identity?

However, Shaftesbury proffers hope to the Soho community pledging to retain its' heritage, focusing on letting to independent brands. Simon Quayle, executive director imparts his vision “It won’t become a street for big brand commercial chains” revealing “There will be record and fabric shops.”

The consented scheme has promised to improve Berwick Street Market, a promising prospect for the market which has been subject to a lot of change in recent years, including the demolition of Walker’s Court (at one end of the street).

The disruptive element, namely a depleting footfall, noise and dust have been detrimental for Berwick’s businesses, denigrating what was once Soho’s most thriving locale. For Kristina Gustafsson, co-founder of Savage Salads, a Berwick Street Market trader, these haven’t been the only issues, concluding “The main problem has been the parking and loading since all the loading bays were removed.”

But the spirit of the street is not all lost, despite the downfall Berwick’s traders have continued their hustle, delivering quality fruit and veg and street food to Soho’s clientele. Their dedication to this well-trodden, time-honoured setting is testimony to the community and their indomitable spirit.

Shaftesbury’s commitment to Soho and its’ heritage is evident across their portfolio and, in particular, Berwick Street where they have let to independents like WAH London, Bleach, Gosh Comics, Misan Textiles and Other, to name a few – the prospect of innovative retail is tangible.

Robin Smith, founder of Soho Dairy, market trader since 2015 optimistically surmises “There is no reason that I can see for Berwick Street not to bloom and boom in the years to come, particularly now that it has been secured as a street market for independent traders working with permanent licences.”

So once the dust settles it appears Berwick Street will rise with 300 years of history and a whole future in front of it.

Putting the buzz back into Berwick

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