The Challenge and Solutions
The main challenges were balancing the needs of pedestrians, bicycles, cars, taxis and service vehicles, while ensuring that improvements met the many and varied requirements of stakeholders and partners.
Due to the complexity of Bond Street’s transport, function and ownership, its high-profile and international value, continuous collaboration played a fundamental role in delivering a transformational project, ensuring that improvements met the many and varied requirements of stakeholders and partners. At all stages—decision-making, funding and delivery—the project’s success relied on collaborative, joined-up working.
Drawing on the expertise across a multi-disciplinary team to analyse a range of issues related to highways, retail, heritage and broader development in the West End, Publica developed a detailed, nine-month audit of the street and wider neighbourhood. The survey included an in-depth analysis of the context, public realm improvements by neighbouring landowners and developers, and identified opportunities for enhancements to the street. Publica developed the urban design following their initial detailed local survey and concept design.
NRP provided crucial traffic modelling and guidance on loading/parking arrangements in this key public space for people. WSP managed the project and led the engineering design through to construction, also working to ensure communication and engagement with local people. FM Conway provided early contractor involvement during the design process and then delivered the scheme to a very high standard.
Westminster City Council (WCC) officers, the New West End Company (NWEC), Publica, WSP and FMC guarded quality throughout the project ensuring that a public realm of the highest standard was delivered in line with WCC’s and funders’ expectations.
NWEC provided a direct link to the local business community which influenced the project from inception to completion, and the team organised a robust stakeholder engagement strategy, including regular exhibitions and presentations with businesses. Finally, a long-term management plan was developed to ensure the scheme stays in good order through repairs, cleaning and maintenance intended to retain the street as designed.
However, despite this great organisation, the project also had its risks for being completed on time with it being situated on such a high-profile and busy area, for pedestrians, properties and works.
It was vital for shops, galleries and businesses to remain open throughout construction. The team made every effort to minimise disruption, adapting the programme around cultural events, special shopping days, store refurbishments and re-openings.
To make best use of street closures, we deployed more resources to maximise the work carried out. Materials and spoil were stored out of the way, with quantities kept low through just-in-time deliveries and frequent waste collections. We co-ordinated works in the area, ensuring planned works occurred before the transformation. We also shared traffic management and minimised the overall works and closures required, maintaining good pedestrian space and safe access to properties. Also Cutting areas used noise and dust suppression to protect people and businesses.
The project is exemplary of a successful public realm project that revitalises the character and identity of an iconic shopping street, with the retail and tourism sectors key to the West End, London and national economy and has been accompanied by unprecedented levels of investment, with the result that retail turnover has reached £1 billion annually – £3 million a day.
The £10 million transformation provides a blueprint for reviving the high street. Many aspects of the project will now be copied in Savile Row, Conduit Street and nearby Hanover Square.
The area now considers the needs of people walking, using mobility equipment, cycling and dwelling. The new vehicular movements have produced an immediate improvement in the environment, and a better experience for pedestrians and cyclists. Footfall is up 35% following the works and there has been a noticeable reduction in traffic and queuing.
On top of this, encouraging walking and cycling reduces vehicle emissions and creates a safe, enjoyable environment. By prioritising pedestrians through the expansion of footpaths, clear wayfinding, and reducing street clutter, this project balances economics, social and environmental objectives, and supports health and well-being.
Commenting on the works, Lawrence Upton, Operations Manager at FM Conway, said:
“Bond Street is one of the world’s most prestigious shopping destinations, requiring a public realm which meets customers’ high expectations. With the first phase now complete, we’re pleased to see the street looking its best in the run up to the festive shopping period.”