Soho Estates hails Summer Street Festival success with 90% of operators back open

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Soho Estates hails Summer Street Festival a success with 90% of operators back open

Related tags: Soho, Al fresco, Coronavirus

London-based commercial landlord Soho Estates has hailed its Summer Street Festival campaign a 'success'.

Launched back in June, the campaign saw Soho Estates join forces with fellow landlord firm Shaftesbury to call for the temporary pedestrianisation of the Soho area, in order to allow hospitality businesses to set-up al fresco drinking and dining areas.

According to Soho Estates, 90% of hospitality businesses have now reopened inside the pedestrianised zone; and further closures have recently been announced, with the entire of Old Compton Street to be pedestrianised to increase the number of outdoor table and chairs and eliminate vertical drinking. 

"I am delighted and overwhelmed to see the success of the alfresco dining in Soho, it is a lifeline for the survival of our area," says John James, MD of Soho Estates.

"It is an example of what can be achieved when people come together with a common aim. And ultimately it has saved jobs, businesses and kick started the economy of London's most important food and drink hub."

A total of 17 streets across the district are now temporarily pedestrianised, including Greek Street, Old Compton Street, Frith Street and Dean Street.

More than 80 restautant businesses are taking part in the initiative, managing to marshal the barriers to ensure cars keep clear of the roads, burdening the cost themselves.

"We've managed to give businesses a life line and have saved, by our estimate, over 2000 jobs," says chef restaurateur Victor Garvey, who has been central to the campaign from the start.

While there are still things to work out, we see this initiative as a huge victory and hope other similarly F&B concentrated areas around London, and indeed the whole country, can emulate our success."

As well as allowing operators to make up some of the covers lost by social distancing, the initiative has allowed Soho operators to expand their usual offering.

Ellen Chew of Rasa Sayang on Frith Street, for example, has taken inspiration from the night time road closures and re-created her version of Hawker Style dining synonymous with Singapore by introducing an outside 'BBQ Straits' menu.

Related topics: Business

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