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On the train home this evening I saw a very small article in the Evening Standard saying that plans have been submitted for approval to Westminster council to turn Walkers Court in Soho into offices. People can say it's sleazy and seedy - but doesn't this just further sanitise another area of London?

Love it or loathe it, this is part of the character of Soho. I'm quite happy with a number of the changes in Soho over the years. The area used to be rife with drug dealers and prostitutes and wasn't all that safe until the 90's. On the whole, Soho strikes a good balance now between being edgy, bohemian and a place with good clubs, bars and restaurants. But Walkers Court is probably the last remnant of the old Soho. It is hardly dangerous anymore and just adds a slightly risque vibe to the area.

I can't actually find the article online, but if anyone comes across more info on these plans then post in here.


Walker's Court Soho
by Matt From London, on Flickr


"Porn Alley" (Walker's Court), Berwick Street, Soho by Luke Robinson, on Flickr


pw008-18 by Lloyd Davis, on Flickr
 

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i would be really upset if this goes through

this, and a couple of the nearby alleys - and great windmill street, should be encouraged to stay/rebecome like this, its seedy/glamorous/colourful/open all hours. even as a young 13/14 year old girl with/or without friends i NEVER felt threatened here, and i did go at that age because it fascinated me. this IS soho, this is london - a part of it, and has been for hundreds of years, let the offices move to holborn. although westminster council...done deal, goodbye vibrant interesting corners. the fact that its an alley - even better - dont walk up it if it offends you, there are other ways to get to berwick street. i also love the old neon raymonds revue sign above the brewer street entrance - its not lit anymore, very sad. lived nearby when i was a teen - a lovely prostitute called martha used to do my maths homework while we sat in a nearby cafe and talked about men, now its going to be some brushed steel offices with a tossed salad bar at ground level - upsetting stuff
 

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^^ what a great paragraph of text! I completely agree with your points about the street too.
 

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This is the project here -

Soho Estates said:
Walkers Court Redevelopment

Walkers Court, London, W1F

http://www.sohoestates.co.uk/ProjectArea/Default.aspx

The proposal is for the redevelopment of Walkers Court and surrounding buildings. Walkers Court is the principal Northbound conduit to Berwick Street, with strategic opportunities and a role to play in the success of proposed redevelopments in the Berwick Street area. Walkers Court is situated near to the centre of the Soho Conservation Area. The buildings comprising the proposal site are not noted for any particular historic or architectural merit but they are placed in the context of several others that are. The Court itself is a narrow pedestrianised street between Brewer Street and Peter Street and links Rupert Street with Berwick Street, which is popular with tourists and the local workers and works as a North-South connecting route to and from the heart of the West End.

It sounds like they wish to keep Walkers Court but upgrade some of the office space. The pdf isn't working so not really sure what the exact plans are.



:)
 

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Unfortunately, this last 'seedy' bit of Soho is probably doomed over the long-run, the demand for offices and retail too great in the West End - and indeed all over central London - and appetite to preserve this particular area too small.

Soho has already changed a fair bit since the 90s from what i remember going down as a teenager: more offices, shops and restaurants colonizing it over bars and clubs, with Chinatown creeping in from the south (although that expansion appears to have stagnated). Hopefully what it ends up transforming into won’t be too stale and sterile.
 

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Unfortunately, this last 'seedy' bit of Soho is probably doomed over the long-run, the demand for offices and retail too great in the West End - and indeed all over central London - and appetite to preserve this particular area too small.

Soho has already changed a fair bit since the 90s from what i remember going down as a teenager: more offices, shops and restaurants colonizing it over bars and clubs, with Chinatown creeping in from the south (although that expansion appears to have stagnated). Hopefully what it ends up transforming into won’t be too stale and sterile.
Yeah, rental levels get ever higher and Soho will end up as a bijou office district, for small high priced firms who serve the big corporates and the shops and bars reflect this. The new Soho is Shoreditch. It has the old small buildings in a warren of streets, yet is still zone 1. The only thing preventing it form taking over is the lack of Theatres and Cinemas in walking distance. But London has may more clusters for nightlife, than it used to have.
 

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Yeah, rental levels get ever higher and Soho will end up as a bijou office district, for small high priced firms who serve the big corporates and the shops and bars reflect this. The new Soho is Shoreditch. It has the old small buildings in a warren of streets, yet is still zone 1. The only thing preventing it form taking over is the lack of Theatres and Cinemas in walking distance. But London has may more clusters for nightlife, than it used to have.
Much of Shoreditch is already in danger of being gobbled up and absorbed into the expanding sphere of the City. Much depends on what actually gets built at the former goodsyard, some of the proposals were almost Wood Wharf size it seemed.

I guess the area between Clerkenwell and Old Street station should be fine from large-scale developments, but the issue is more whether the original IT firms - many, it has to be said, not offering much more than a catalogue service online and hardly high-tech - get replaced by larger, more international organisations in so-called new media as well as IT and computing, changing the culture and environment of the area.
 

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^^ what a great paragraph of text! I completely agree with your points about the street too.
thank you. hopefully others feel as strongly as us about this tragedy waiting for its green light
 

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