Leicester Square

Client:

Heart of London Business Alliance

Principle stakeholder:

Westminster City Council

Summary:

Plan Projects was appointed by the Heart of London Business Alliance to produce an Events Strategy for Leicester Square (ESLS). The Square reopened in May 2012 following a major redesign by landscape architects Burns + Nice. The strategy will provide the partners with a means of conceiving, organising, monitoring and managing events in the Square consistent with its status as one of the West End’s key civic spaces.

Functions:

Leicester Square delivers a number of functions: a venue for high profile film events, a thriving evening economy, a key link between Piccadilly and Covent Garden. In addition, it works at three levels within its urban context: firstly at a local level, providing the neighbourhood’s growing residential population with a key area of public open space, secondly, within the Mayor’s London Plan as key leisure and recreation destination within the city’s ‘Central Activities  Zone.’ It also has a role to play in the ‘complex urban whole’ of the wider city, not least because of its global reputation.

Key themes:

Our advice to the client identified a number of key themes the strategy should address if it is to support these functions and help secure the Square’s long term success.

  • Helping attracting a broader range of people into the Square
  • Helping cultivate core civic values of basic respect for others and a willingness to embrace new ideas and experiences
  • Adopting an experiential approach by combining the activity of multiple players within a framework governed by excellence and consistency with Westminster City Council’s approach to placemaking
  • Seeking to reconcile the programme of major events with regular smaller scale, locally conceived events to optimise economic impact
  • Use of the strategy to support strategic positioning decisions
  • Making use of digital technology to deliver adaptability and initiate co-production models, and
  • Treating the ESLS as a tool for holistic and sustainable urban renewal addressing the key elements of sustainability: economy, social life and environmental quality.

Client testimonial:

Plan Projects was initially commissioned to identify criteria which could be used as a way of assessing different kinds of cultural activity in the Square. Their commission was then extended to deliver this initial study; it has provided us with an essential foundation on which to develop our dialogue with Westminster City Council and our business members’ (Sarah Porter, Chief Executive, Heart of London Business Alliance)