Happy New Year – we hope this update finds you safe and well.
While 2021 could not have started in a more challenging way for everyone with the return to a national Lockdown, the work of South Bank BID continues, both in terms of day-to-day management of essential services to our unique area of London and through the work we are doing locally and at a City-wide level to ensure that South Bank will be ready to reopen when our recovery happens.
Here is a guide to some of the services we are continuing to provide to our levy payers:
South Bank Clean Team & South Bank Patrol
Both South Bank Clean Team and South Bank Patrol will continue to operate on the ground in the area, as they have done throughout since the first Lockdown in March 2020. Their work ensures our neighbourhood remains safe, secure and ready to welcome businesses and visitors back when the time is right to do so. With so many of our larger attractions closed for much of 2021, the work of both these teams has proved crucial in responding to challenges that have arisen during the pandemic across South Bank, including illegal gatherings and vandalism of temporarily vacant property.
One of the most important aspects of the BID’s work in response to the pandemic has been providing a voice on behalf of our businesses to advocate for greater business support. This includes supporting the extension of business rate relief, promoting our hospitality sector and championing the importance of culture to our economy and wellbeing. Working with both local MPs, City Hall, Westminster and our two borough councils, we have ensured the challenges South Bank’s businesses have shared with us are known and understood, and that further funding support is then targeted towards those that most need it. As lockdown measures continue, the BID will maintain its emphasis on ensuring the challenges faced by South Bank’s businesses are heard and addressed.
The BID has partnered with Cross River Partnership to help create a Clean Air Village in South Bank, and under this programme we have planned a number of schemes to tackle air quality in the neighbourhood beginning this year. This includes the acquisition of a Cargo Bike for all BID businesses to use, which will help tackle air pollution if used to replace petrol and diesel delivery vehicles and proposals for a new recycling scheme on an area-wide basis that, if businesses sign up to it, will provide cost savings and valuable data.
As many more employees will be looking to cycle into the area when it is safe to do so, the BID is now exploring the best ways to facilitate this change, including bicycle maintenance sessions, further secure bike stations, and sustainable travel workshops.
South Bank London, part funded by the BID, is one of London’s leading destination marketing brands, and in response to the pandemic we have pivoted to sharing a mixture of digital and in person events in 2020. Engagement remains high, with a combined reach of over 300,000 across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and the team are sharing how audiences can continue to keep connected to their favourite South Bank spots, even when they can’t visit in person.
South Bank London will also be a crucial channel for messaging South Bank as safe and secure, as soon as audiences can travel to visit once again, which is why in partnership with the Lambeth Public Health Team earlier this year we updated our poster sites and digital assets with our “Find Your Happy Place” promotion for the area.
In light of in-person networking events not being currently advisable, the BID is continuing to work to provide opportunities to connect all of the different businesses that make up the South Bank business community and share their stories. Despite the pandemic and its challenges, our businesses have worked to provide crucial resources and support to the local community, includes Guys and St Thomas hospital, and new businesses have still moved into the neighbourhood.
To share these stories, the BID has developed a new community platform on the BID website dedicated to highlighting the voices and experiences of BID businesses, through interviews, news stories and video talks. You can read the first story, about the inspirational work of OXO restaurant in providing essential meals to the local community here.
What’s Coming to South Bank in 2021?
Despite all of the challenges over the past year, there are still things to look forward to in South Bank in 2021. The next phase of the Illuminated River artwork project, where all the bridges from Blackfriars to Lambeth Bridge will be lit up with light-based artwork designed by globally renowned light artist Leo Villareal, will be complete during Spring. Visitors will be able to have the full experience of the artwork just by walking along the river, but boat excursions and walking tours will also be arranged. We are hopeful too that we will be able to celebrate the Festival of Britain’s 70th anniversary in May, recognising the transformative effect on South Bank and British citizens that this event had in the aftermath of the second World War.
Work also continues on Waterloo.London, a new dynamic retail, leisure and cultural destination based in the old Eurostar Terminal in Waterloo Station, which will open in late 2021 or early 2022, with London’s only Time Out Market as the headline confirmed tenant. Some exciting new retail developments are also planned in the station itself – more on this soon!
You will also see a number of important improvements to areas of South Bank’s public realm this year, with funds secured through our ongoing engagement with Lambeth Council. These will focus in particular on the areas around Belvedere Road, Concert Hall approach and Upper Ground, and will include new areas of pedestrianisation, as some of these areas have not been sufficiently improved for over 20 years. This is all part of our commitment to ensuring South Bank remains a world-class place to be for everyone.
As ever, if you have any questions or would like to have any further details on any aspect of the BID’s work, please contact us at BID@southbanklondon.com. We’re hoping for a less challenging 2021, and look forward to continuing to work with you all this year.