The City of London Corporation has kicked off a ‘Lunchtime Streets’ campaign, an initiative to celebrate the public realm, which allows workers, residents and visitors to enjoy a traffic-free lunch break.
St Mary Axe, which sits in the heart of the City Cluster of tall buildings, including the iconic Gherkin, Cheesegrater, Aviva Building and the Baltic Exchange, will be transformed, providing a car-free space for people to enjoy food, music and fun activities.
Next month (3-5 September), Chancery Lane will also be closed to traffic from Carey Street to Southampton Buildings from 10.30am to 3pm, with activity taking place from 12noon to 2pm.
The three-day event is supported by the Chancery Lane Association, a business association committed to promoting the interests of Chancery Lane and the local area, and will involve many of the businesses and restaurants from the street.
‘Lunchtime Streets’ has been created in line with the City Corporation’s Transport Strategy and draft City Plan (to be finalised in the coming months), which aim to prioritise pedestrians, promote cleaner and healthier ways to travel, and increase the amount of high-quality public space in the Square Mile.
A public exhibition on the future of the City Cluster is running throughout August under the Leadenhall Building.
Alastair Moss, chair of the planning and transportation committee, said: “The Square Mile is renowned for its bustling streets.
“As the UK’s leading financial district, it will continue to be a magnet for residents, workers and tourists in the coming years.
“Our ‘Lunchtime Streets’ offers us an opportunity to reimagine what the City’s streets and public realm may look like in the future. The continued growth of the Square Mile’s working population – and the forthcoming Elizabeth line – makes it all the more important that we are innovative when it comes to making use of space.
“With vibrant activities, music and food, ‘Lunchtime Streets’ provides a glimpse into what the City’s future looks like – with safer, healthier, people-friendly streets for everyone to enjoy.”
Tim Bacon, director of the Chancery Lane Association, added: “We are delighted to host the City of London Corporation’s ‘Lunchtime Streets’ event on Chancery Lane. We see it as an excellent opportunity to showcase the lane whilst contributing to the discussion on how we can use the capital’s streets more productively and safely.
“Historically, Chancery Lane was seen as the heart of the legal world, but in recent years we’ve welcomed an influx of new businesses from media, healthcare and technology sectors – bringing new life to the area.
“This event will give thousands of workers the opportunity to spill out of their offices and enjoy the reimagined space.”