Revealed – blueprint for getting the City to flourish: More cafes, green spaces and sports facilities ready to lure companies in after Brexit and Covid
- We can say that the planning blueprint would recommend creating a dynamic Parisian cafe culture
- The document will outline plans for other sporting facilities as well as night and weekend entertainment
- This study was conducted by the Eastern City Partnership, which represents the area between the London Bridge and Liverpool Street
City could see dramatic changes under a master plan to get workers back into office while boosting a vital financial services sector.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that this week’s planning blueprint would recommend creating a vibrant Parisian cafe culture with more outdoor tables, wide avenues, pedestrian areas and more green space for workers to relax.
The document will outline plans for other sporting facilities as well as night and weekend entertainment. It will list outdoor cinema and large long table street dinners – hugely successful in Milan – as potential new attractions.
A new direction: The planning blueprint would recommend creating a dynamic Paris-style cafe culture
This study was conducted by the Eastern City Partnership, which represents the area between the London Bridge and Liverpool Street. These include the Gherkin and Cheesegrater skyscrapers, the Lloyd’s building and the Leadenhall Market.
Giant companies including insurance company Aon and asset manager Brookfield are members of the partnership.
The area improvement will be funded using a combination of public and private money. The plan was drawn up with input from the City of London Corporation which will now examine its feasibility in detail.
Banks, insurers, asset managers and other City firms are currently reviewing when they should call staff back into office – and in what numbers – following the announcement of Boris Johnson’s lockdown exit map.
Last week, HSBC said it was cutting 40 percent of its office space nationwide, raising concerns that urban centers could run out of energy. Lloyd’s, Standard Chartered and Metro Bank also intend to reduce their office-based operations.
Politicians and City lobby groups are working on plans to upgrade the City with a deal to help sell financial services to countries outside the EU.
Amsterdam this month overtook London as Europe’s top stock trading center. A UK-EU trade deal on financial services has yet to be concluded.
The government is known to be stepping up talks with Switzerland to reach a ‘gold standard’ agreement for financial services. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been in talks with his Swiss counterpart to work out a deal to allow “mutual recognition” of each other’s rules.
A source close to the talks said this would make it easier for Britain to sell financial products to Switzerland and vice versa.
The government is planning a massive publicity effort to encourage British companies to take advantage of the UK’s free trade agreement with Japan, which would make it easier for British banks and tech-savvy companies to store data in Japan and serve customers locally.
Britain is also turning its attention to India, Africa and China for future financial deals.
Office staff are generally expected to commute less frequently to the capital once the pandemic has subsided – and at certain times to reduce congestion during rush hour.
Business leaders and property owners in the City stress the area’s value for the country’s recovery with a financial services industry that generates 7 percent of the economic output.
Various shops, bars and restaurants in the City desperately need the return of office workers to sustain the local economy. Three skyscrapers were approved last month on the Square Mile and the arrival of Crossrail could see 100,000 additional workers flood the City by 2026.
Catherine McGuinness, City of London Company policy chair, said: “The city is ready to welcome workers back when it is safe to do so and I truly believe the City has a bright future.”
Plans to revitalize the eastern part of the City – drawn up by planning firm Publica – part of an existing business district as ‘unimaginative’ with ‘very lack of green space’.
The proposal builds on a 20-year plan unveiled by the City of London Corporation in 2018, which includes making the region’s southern edge attractive to visitors.
Kevin Ellis, chairman of consultancy giant PwC, said: “In addition to money being spent on shops, cafes and surrounding cultural facilities, the network and interaction of office workers creates higher returns.”