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Soho property giant calls for a summer street festival

Soho Estates write to Westminster Council about plans

05 June, 2020 — By Bronwen Weatherby

Fawn James: ‘Let’s allow businesses the space to open and operate within social distancing measures, as well as keeping staff and customers safe’

SOHO Estates is campaigning for a summer street festival after months of lockdown.

The property company, which owns large parts of Soho has put forward plans to temporarily pedestrianise around nine streets for a number of months.

The plan is for chairs, tables and entertainment to be moved into the streets so businesses can comply with social distancing regulations.

The proposal says that all staff will wear personal protective equipment, PPE, when dealing with customers.

In an open letter to Westminster City Council, Soho Estates managing director John James said: “As we are all only too aware, the impact of Covid-19 on businesses nationwide has been disastrous and, with Soho being a place of activity, entertainment, eating and drinking, we have been among the worst hit.

“With so many independent businesses in Soho, we are at risk of losing the culture that makes the area so special.

“The chancellor of the exchequer has predicted that we are facing a ‘severe recession, the likes of which we haven’t seen’, and therefore the need to act in any way we can to save businesses is urgent.”

Mr James has suggested the festival could run until the end of September. Trading hours would be between 8am and 11pm.

Fawn James, director of Soho Estates, tweeted: “Let’s get Soho open again.

“Let’s allow businesses the space to open and operate within social distancing measures, as well as keeping staff and customers safe.”

The annual Soho Village Fete, which was due to take place on June 21, has been postponed with organisers hoping it will take place on September 13 instead.

Save Soho – a campaign group set up to stop gentrification and over-development in Soho – has distanced itself from the campaign that was initially launched on a separate “save soho” website.

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