Local council moves to protect small Soho shops

The local authority in Soho, London is attempting to halt the expansion of giant property developments that could swamp the area and make it less attractive for its millions of tourists and the small fashion retailers that have set up shop there.


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The area has become a hub for independent fashion brands, but large-scale developments could put this at risk and turn it into another carbon-copy neighbourhood full of major chains.

Westminster Council has now put forward a new planning policy that would prevent companies turning multiple small shops into one larger store, limiting the ability of global chains to transform the area. It would also restrict the building of new, large-scale hotels. 

The council is keen to hang on to some aspects of the area’s historical profile, even though the sex shops and seedy clubs for which it was once known have largely (and happily) been dispensed with. That means it will also encourage more independent music venues to open, The Evening Standard reported.

Westminster's cabinet member for planning Richard Beddoe told the newspaper: "By using our planning powers to create an environment where the creative industries can thrive, we'll create more space for modern independent retailers or new start-ups, making sure Soho remains special.”

Soho fashion retailers at present include Universal Works, End, Eytys, R.M. Williams, A Day's March, Footpatrol, and Stüssy.

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