Bringing Princes Circus back to life
Following on from delivering new and rejuvenated green spaces around Tottenham Court Road the West End Project continues to progress with a new contract now awarded to idverde to transform Princes Circus into an inviting place to stop and rest as well as improving local pedestrian connections in the area.
As the largest transformational scheme in the borough, the West End Project is changing not just how people travel in the Tottenham Court Road area, but how it looks and feels. Issues, which have affected the area for some time, are being addressed, including traffic congestion, a lack of public open space and poor air quality.
The designs for Princes Circus were developed with LDA Design following engagement with residents, businesses and local interest groups to understand the local issues for Princes Circus and how the space can be used better. The final designs were then developed from these ideas following further technical studies and survey work.
“The redesign of Princes Circus will transform this area adding to our programme of greening spaces across the borough. Once again, we are changing road space into usable and enjoyable green space for people.
“There will be distinctive woodland style planting along with plenty of new places to stop, rest and enjoy the space. The historic drinking fountain has already been conserved with repairs to the stonework and will be relocated into a new focal feature in the space alongside decked seating areas.
“The new public space will sit perfectly as an improved and inviting pedestrian route between Covent Garden and the British Museum. The new pedestrian crossings already make the area easier and safer for people to navigate.
“Many people have told me how much they enjoy the revitalised Whitefield Gardens and the new park at Alfred Place Gardens, both undertaken by idverde, and I look forward to working with them to deliver the improvements to Princes Circus.”
Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden
Idverde, contractors for Princes Circus said:
“We’re delighted to have been awarded the works to transform Princes Circus following on from delivering the rejuvenated Whitfield Gardens and the creation of a brand-new park in Alfred Place.
“We are excited to continue to work on the West End Project which is creating stunning new green and public spaces across Camden’s West End, benefiting both people and nature.
“The work at Princes Circus will change this underused and uninviting public space into a beautiful place to enjoy, filled with plants and seating under the shade of the impressive existing mature trees. The transformation will mean residents, workers and visitors to the area can linger enjoyable, better able to enjoy the range of independent businesses and the Shaftesbury Theatre in a space designed for both people and plants.”
Tim South, Associate and LDA Design project lead for Princes Circus said:
“In the context of Princes Circus space is, and has been, heavily constrained; fast-moving roads were on two sides, and narrow pavements were present leaving nowhere to comfortably stand.
“The West End Project has begun to address this through reassigning traffic and removing sections of Bloomsbury Street and Shaftesbury Avenue and released space here to be used for public benefit, creating better walking connections and a place to admire the surrounding iconic architecture and monuments. Working closely with Camden Council, we have created wider, clearer pavements, a safer cycling route and an attractive, richly planted square with new and retained mature trees that will become a convenient spot to meet up with friends, move through or grab a bite to eat.
“The creation of a generous civic space in this busy part of the capital is the pinnacle of the successful West End Project, which is transforming Camden’s central London streets and spaces to make them greener, safer, and more welcoming. We are very much looking forward to see our designs for Princes Circus come to life.”
Work has started with the removal of all the old materials including the pavements and street furniture. The transformation of Princes Circus is due to be completed in Spring 2023.
Other developments, as part of the West End Project, that are nearing completion include the public realm works at Centre Point. This includes a new space around Tottenham Court Road Tube station and neighbouring developments. Mature trees have been added alongside seating and a public space is being prepared for outdoor events. A brand-new pocket park on Huntley Street outside the new UCLH building has also been opened to provide patients, staff, visitors and local residents with a calm and tranquil space to relax in and enjoy.