Thurloe Street and Exhibition Road
These streets are a mix of retail, office and residential properties. There are several cafes and food outlets as well as popular evening venues. The streets are the main above-ground route from the station to the museums and are heavily used by visitors, so this area will always be dominated by pedestrians. There will be no through-traffic in Thurloe Street and only limited access for delivery vehicles.
The most common comment was that the area was busy enough already and it should be kept clear of more obstructions. There were concerns about more disruption to residents.
Trees and plants were the most popular suggestions for this area, closely followed by open air cafes. Entertainers were the thing that people would least like to see in the new area.
Future use of the area
The situation here is a little complex. There are underground vulnerabilities we need to protect; deliveries and through traffic; as well as the expectations of residents and businesses.
Cellars and the pedestrian tunnel on the south side of Thurloe Street are only partly protected by the new bicycle docking station. Basement areas just beyond their retaining walls on the north side of Thurloe Street need protection. We need to ensure that cars do not park on the York Stone pavement at the western end of Thurloe Street, nor wait in the granite section where only loading and unloading is allowed.
The southern end of Exhibition Road will be the first introduction to single surface for many visitors arriving from the tube station. We need to ensure that it is easy to navigate, and we need to protect the pedestrian tunnel lanterns and the tunnel itself.
We have kept street furniture in this area to a minimum. Rubbish bins are mounted on lampposts, there are no benches (but there are lots of benches by the museums in Exhibition Road north of the Cromwell Road), and bollards or cycle racks are used to protect vulnerable areas.
We have planted new trees at the southern end of Exhibition Road.
We do not consider Thurloe Street or Exhibition Road South of the Cromwell Road suitable for either permanent public art, or a water feature, but we do not rule out occasional temporary exhibitions of suitable public art, or fleeting and site-specific works.
We do not think it would be a good idea to move Bute Street farmer’s market to this location, but we will look into the possibility of other temporary markets to add to the vitality of the area.
Councillors will consider a comprehensive policy paper on café, restaurant and bars’ outdoor tables and chairs. We will explore the idea of tables and chairs a little removed from their parent retailer and the possible locations, sizes, hours of operation and conditions we might want to attach to licences.