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Old July 19th, 2005, 07:48 PM   #1
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Leicester Square

Just seen something on BBC London about development in leicester square with a performance stage but there are fears it could lose its character and be covered with advertising billboards. here's an article i found on BBC NEWS

Outdoor stage for West End square

One of London's main squares could get its own permanent outdoor stage if the plan gets backing from sponsors.

Westminster Council wants to make several cosmetic changes to Leicester Square to enhance its family appeal and stop its association with drinking.

A number of buildings surrounding the venue - the home of UK film premieres - have applied to be redeveloped into hotel and shop complexes.

The central statue would be removed to make a bigger pedestrian area.

Planning permission has already been granted to turn the Equinox nightclub in the square into a casino which a council spokesman said will help with "regeneration".

He said an application had been submitted to turn the Swiss building into a hotel with shops below.

There are also plans to redevelop the Hippodrome in the venue which currently sees about 250,000 visitors each day.

The leader of Westminster Council, Simon Milton, said the opportunities for sponsors were "boundless".

He said: "Leicester Square should be a stand alone attraction in its own right for visitors to London.

"The plans we have will transform the Square into a centre of entertainment in the West End, playing host to performances and exhibitions throughout the year.

"No longer just a walkthrough, the Square will become an identified venue around the World for fun, family friendly environment."

The council hopes its sponsors will have been selected by November.

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Old July 19th, 2005, 09:21 PM   #2
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why does it look like its lit all the way around it ?
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Old July 20th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #3
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I agree something needs to be done about the square, apart from the film premieres the square is a pile of poo when you compare it to its potential

not sure where its 'lose its character and be covered in advertising comes from?!"

I think it could do with more animation. Another thing that needs to be sorted out are the surrounding streets, apart from china town most are barren, ugly and a waste of prime space. A lot of it is to do with the backs and sides of the big cinemas and venues and a lot of it is to do with the singlular, over-bearing route from Leicester sq to Piccadilly... oh how i cant belive they didnt go for Richard Rogers design of the National Gallery extension that provided a grand route from Trafalgar Sq to Leicester Sq

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Old July 20th, 2005, 12:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by potto
oh how i cant belive they didnt go for Richard Rogers design of the National Gallery extension that provided a grand route from Trafalgar Sq to Leicester Sq
Because the Rogers extension looked shit?

But I agree with the masterplan.

Zaha Hadid's masterplan for the area was so off the wall and bizarre I'd have given my heart not to see it done. Thankfully, I don't have to.

Leicester Square is always going to be shit. It's the centre of tourist London, and will always end up with the usual touristy nonsense surrounding it. However, if the Picadilly Square pedestrianisation happens (which I don't think it will) then I'd like to see that incorporated somehow.
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Old July 20th, 2005, 02:57 PM   #5
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I actually quite like leicester square as it is, the little park and fountain in the middle is quite nice, admittedly I don't tend to frequent it at night because it turns into an utter hellhole.
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Old July 20th, 2005, 08:59 PM   #6
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Hmmmm... not so sure... if it aint broke don't fix it
I like the chaotic nature, it gives the place character... though I also don't go there much a night... but haing said that I don't expect many families do either.
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Old July 20th, 2005, 09:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyonsdown
I actually quite like leicester square as it is, the little park and fountain in the middle is quite nice, admittedly I don't tend to frequent it at night because it turns into an utter hellhole.
I agree, though last week I went to Leicester square 3 times (once at night).
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Old July 21st, 2005, 12:53 PM   #8
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It has so much more potential though... I dont particularly care if there are cheesy nightclubs, expensive cinemas or fast food outlets just that the way the area works needs sorting out. It is a pedestrianised square yet the rather pleasent garden in the middle is cut off from the rest of the square by a large fence... venture out of beyond the two main exits and you are greeted with backs of large buildings and under-used streets. On a more cosmetic level the square is now very tatty in parts, the paving needs sorting out and a couple of buildings are on their last legs (although in the process of being redeveloped).

Like plenty of the West End it has a good atmosphere purely based on reputation but they shouldnt rest on their laurels (as Regent Street found out to its cost) but constantly tweak and improve to stay a head and reinforce the good reputation it has.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 01:03 PM   #9
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I think that the idea of a permenent stage is an excellent one. Some of the best moments the square has seen recently have been with a temporary stage... star wars premiere and the West End musical weekend
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Old July 21st, 2005, 01:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by potto
oh how i cant belive they didnt go for Richard Rogers design of the National Gallery extension that provided a grand route from Trafalgar Sq to Leicester Sq
I think the entrance to Leicester Sq between the National Gallery and the Sainsbury's wing and up St Martins Street is good, albeit rather understated.

Is this scheme for Leicester Square part of Ken's 100 Squares for London project?
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 06:28 PM   #11
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definitely understated. They should light up the paving of the route like they have done in the artists impression of the square above
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 07:59 PM   #12
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Yes, potto. Each pavement slab could be perspex with lights underneath, and moving patterns could be made, perhaps based on where people stand. It would be a pretty cheap way of turning it into a tourist attraction.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 08:38 AM   #13
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Leicester Aquare is peaceful and quite pleasant, but compared to what is could be I thikn that everyone is missing out on a prime opprtunity for London...
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 10:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake_the_Peg
Yes, potto. Each pavement slab could be perspex with lights underneath, and moving patterns could be made, perhaps based on where people stand. It would be a pretty cheap way of turning it into a tourist attraction.
That will look nice whilst it's new and clean. After a few years it will look awful.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 10:31 AM   #15
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They can rip down the fences - I think that would be an improvement - but removing the Shakespeare statue and fountain to another location is a real shame. We could end up losing more than we gain. Ultimately it's less trees, less grass, the removal of a fine and much loved statue/fountain, and a bunch of lights and perspex paving slabs that will look scratched and dirty almost immediately.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 10:56 AM   #16
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Yeah I like the statue. Save the statue and fountain!
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 11:08 AM   #17
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the problem with leicester square is only at night, during the daytime it really isn't that bad it just needs better policing in the evening to stop the twats who want to kick off.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 02:53 PM   #18
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I definetely think the development will be an improvement on what's there and could make it a really great place which reaches its potential but I think that the statues and fountain should be incorporated into the new design.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 03:01 PM   #19
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The main problems, I think, are the lack of adequate lighting at night, and those awful railings.

They should definitely create some sort of lighting system to make it feel safer and friendlier.

I hope they keep the statues and fountain though.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 08:11 PM   #20
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The problem fo rthe square is the number of people who tramp over its grass. They are constantly re-laying it. The square might work better as a free flowing Plaza. If they get rid of some of the crap nightclubs, introduce better restaurants/cafes shops. Maybe some sort of family friendly exhibit/ attraction. Good quality outdoor performances. Then the character of the area would be much better. But whatever they do make sure the never ever let the area clutter up with crap street performers, mimes or worst of all people sprayed/silver prentneding to be robots or statues. These people always make me irationaly angry.
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