Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance by HC120830191224

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									Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance

             Consultation Draft




 Enquiries and comments to Sally Alderman West End Team
                    Ph: 0207 641 7923
           Email: salderman@westminster.gov.uk
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.    Introduction                                                              1-2

2.    Chinatown Area Profile                                                    3-4

3.    Character and function of Chinatown                                       5 - 13

3.1   Pattern, Mix and Intensity of Land Use                                    5-7
3.2   Entertainment and the night-time economy                                  7-9
3.3   The Policy Context – special circumstances for restaurants in Chinatown   10 - 12
3.4   Public Transport and Pedestrian Movement                                  12 - 13

4.    Chinatown Design and Public Realm Guidance                                14

4.1   Urban Design and Conservation                                             14 - 19
4.2   Public Realm                                                              19 - 22
1          INTRODUCTION

The Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) for Chinatown has been prepared by
Westminster City Council.

The draft document supplements the replacement Unitary Development Plan (UDP), which
along with the adopted UDP (July 1997), set out the planning policies for Westminster. The
replacement UDP is a material consideration of significant weight, as it has reached the
very final stage of preparation prior to its adoption. The Draft Chinatown Supplementary
Planning Guidance (SPG) provides clear guidance on how UDP policies will be interpreted
and applied to Chinatown, with particular regard to retail, entertainment land uses, urban
design and the public realm.

The draft SPG contains both detailed text and guidance. The text is important because it
sets out the special features of the area, to ensure that any guidance contained within the
draft SPG are unique to Chinatown and do not set a precedent for other areas. For ease
of reference however a complementary document has been produced, which contains only
the guidance notes.


1.1        Purpose

The Chinatown SPG fulfils the City Council’s commitment to the production of area-
specific planning guidance for Chinatown, as outlined in the Chinatown Action Plan. It also
responds to the recommendations made by the Inspector in his January 2004 report on
the Second Deposit UDP Inquiry, which includes the production of planning guidance
relating to the character and function of sub-areas within the West End Stress Areas. The
draft Chinatown SPG will be followed by the production of guidance for other
entertainment sub-areas within the West End Stress Area and across the City.

The document aims to provide advice and guidance to the Chinatown community
regarding planning and related matters; and to provide advice and guidance to owners,
developers and their agents, when considering developments, redevelopments,
investment programmes and maintenance regimes for the Chinatown area. Once adopted,
this SPG will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications in
the defined Chinatown area.

1.2        To what area does this document apply?

The draft Chinatown SPG applies to the area bounded by Shaftesbury Avenue to the
north, Rupert Street to the west, Charing Cross Road to the east, and Lisle Street to the
south, as illustrated in Figure 1: Boundary of Chinatown.

1.3        Objectives

The objectives of the Chinatown SPG are:
 to support the relevant policies set out in the replacement UDP (in particular Tourism,
   Arts, Culture and Entertainment {TACE} policies 8-10);
 to encourage development that is compatible with the distinct character of the
   neighbourhood and contributes to its long-term sustainability;



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     to describe the characteristics of Chinatown’s night-time economy, including night time
      amenity, and provide guidance on existing restaurants within Chinatown;
     to reinforce the specific qualities and attributes of Chinatown; and
     to ensure future development in Chinatown is sympathetic to the architectural, historic
      and cultural values of the area.

1.4        How to use this document

Applicants should consider the specific information contained within this document and
demonstrate how their proposal is consistent with the specially marked ‘guidance’
sections, as well as illustrating compliance with the relevant policies of the City Council’s
replacement UDP.

This document is divided into 4 parts, as follows:

Part 1: Introduction.

Part 2:Chinatown: Area Profile provides descriptive information about the history of and
current economic and social conditions in Chinatown.

Part 3: Character and Function, provides information about the pattern, mix and intensity
of land uses in Chinatown. This part provides guidance to ensure the areas land use
character and function is maintained. It also provides guidance on opening hours and
extensions to existing restaurants and cafes and aims to ensure an appropriate balance
between night-time entertainment functions and residential amenity is achieved.

Part 4: Chinatown Design and Public Realm Guidance looks at the unique design
characteristics of Chinatown and provides guidelines for conservation, advertisements,
shopfronts and public realm improvements.

1.5        When is planning permission required?

Anyone who wishes to carry out work on buildings or land may be required to firstly secure
planning permission. Planning permission is necessary for a wide range of developments -
from large-scale redevelopments and extensions to minor alterations to buildings, such as
shopfronts Changes of use, for example from a shop to a restaurant, will also require
planning permission.
The following guide will help you to determine whether you require permission.

          If you intend to erect a new building, alter the appearance of an existing building, or
           change the use of a building or part of a building, you will probably require planning
           permission.
          If you intend to alter the appearance of a listed building, externally or internally, you
           will probably require listed building consent.
          If you intend to demolish an unlisted building that is situated inside a conservation
           area, you will require conservation area consent.
          If you intend to display a new advertisement or sign, you will probably require
           advertisement consent.
          If you are carrying out new building work, you will probably have to comply with
           Building Regulations, which are dealt with by the District Surveyor.




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This is only intended to be a guide and not a definitive answer. If you have any concerns
and require further guidance please contact Development Planning Services - Central
Team, Phone: 0207641 2927/ 2514.

2          CHINATOWN – AREA PROFILE

2.1        Location

Chinatown is located in Central London’s West End, between Soho to the north and
Leicester Square to the south. It is within the part of Westminster described in the
replacement UDP as the West End ‘Stress Area’, defined in the replacement UDP as an
area that has become ‘saturated’ with A3 and entertainment uses to the extent that it’s
character is being eroded by entertainment uses.

2.2        Brief history

The area we now know as Chinatown and Soho became a prime site for development both
after the 1666 Great Fire of London devastated the City of London and created an urgent
need for new housing, and in response to the mid 17th Century economic activity in the
surrounding area. The construction of Gerrard Street was completed in 1685, and by the
1700-1800s the street housed many artists. By the mid-1800s the area had become
rundown, and the subsequent cheap rents made the area attractive to waves of immigrant
communities such as the French Huguenots, Jewish refugees and eventually the Chinese.

The first Chinese communities began to settle around Gerrard Street in the 1950’s, moving
from the Limehouse area of London where they had lived and worked since the late
1700s, but which was bombed heavily in World War II. Affordable rents and short leases
attracted people to set up new businesses in Chinatown and move into the catering
industry, which continued to grow, encouraging more immigrants to set up restaurants,
associated business, and homes in the area. 1

2.3        Current context

Today Chinatown is one of the most central and bustling districts of its kind in Europe. It is
primarily known as a restaurant district, however its streets also include supermarkets,
speciality stores, businesses serving local needs and housing. The area is an important
focal point for the United Kingdom’s Chinese, East Asian, and Southeast Asian culture and
community.2 As a popular destination for residents, workers, and visitors to central
London, Chinatown also contributes to London’s status as a world class city.

In recent years, the increasing popularity of Chinatown and the wider West End has
brought antisocial behaviour and compromised the Council's ability to keep the area safe
and clean. In response to increasing concern about this, the City Council prepared the
Chinatown Action Plan (September 2003) in consultation with the local communities,
businesses and landowners. The Action Plan has delivered considerable improvements to
the area, and the City Council continues to address the pressures and concerns facing
Chinatown and its communities.

2.4        Economy

1
 Chinatown Action Plan. Westminster City Council 2003.
2
 East Asia generally refers to China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan. Southeast Asia generally refers to Singapore,
Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar/Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines, East Timor and Brunei.


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Whilst the City Council’s 2002 Shopping Health Check survey declared Chinatown to be
‘healthy’ in terms of its vitality, viability and general economic health, the area has faced a
number of challenges in recent years. 3 These include the 2001 Foot and Mouth disease
outbreak in Britain, the 2003 SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic, and
the threat of terrorism, all of which have had a significant impact on Chinatown
businesses.

As the Chinatown economy began to recover, the Mayor of London’s Congestion Charging
scheme was introduced, resulting in a reduction in vehicular traffic by approximately 15%
within the congestion charging zone.4. This has had a significant impact on retailers and
restaurants across the West End, with businesses concerned that patronage has
decreased since the charge began.

Another concern, raised in the Chinatown Action Plan, is the encroachment of bars and
clubs and other businesses that may erode Chinatown’s unique character and even pose
a threat to the long-term sustainability of the community through driving out residents.
There is also a need to ensure local businesses can access the shops and services they
require, such as convenience stores and supermarkets.

The GLA (Greater London Authority) Economics Report of 2004 states that the London
Economy is recovering, and of importance to Chinatown, passenger journeys by tube and
bus are continuing to rise and the growth of overseas visitors is high.5 The City of
Westminster is concerned to ensure this economic growth continues and to ensure the
long-term sustainability of the Chinatown community. This SPG outlines guidance that will
assist in maintaining and enhancing Chinatown’s unique character and function.

2.5        Chinatown community and culture

As the centre of Chinese culture in London, Chinatown has a thriving community. Located
within its borders is the Chinatown Community Centre on Gerrard Street, which runs a
variety of activities for the local community. The Fujian Community Centre is located on
Wardour Street, providing an important service, particularly for new arrivals from China’s
Fujian province.

The Annual Chinese New Year celebration is a key Central London event, and includes
festivities in nearby Leicester Square, as well as in Gerrard Street itself. Other events
celebrated include the annual bathing of the Buddha event, the Moon festival, and one-off
events such as the welcoming of the Olympic torch prior to the Athens Olympics in 2004.

2.6        Ethnic diversity

Westminster is ethnically very diverse, its profile being unique in England. It has a higher
percentage of Chinese residents than any other Local Authority in England, and Chinese is
the sixth largest distinct ethnic group in the borough, after ‘other’, Black African, Irish,
Black Carribbean and Indian.6


3
  Chinatown Shopping Area Health Check. Westminster City Council 2002.
4 Congestion Charging Impacts Monitoring – Second Annual Report. Transport for London, April 2004.
5
  GLA Economics 2004 in: The Economic Importance of Chinatown. Partnership Solutions for WCC 2004.
6
  2001 Census of Population conducted by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in April 2001. After a protracted two-year joint
investigation the ONS has recently amended Westminster's 2001 population estimate, adding an additional 17,500 people (9.5 %
increase). This data is therefore indicative only.



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The proportion of Westminster’s population that is Chinese has increased from 1.6 per
cent in the 1991 Census to 2.25 per cent in 2001. This is much greater than for the
remainder of England (0.45 per cent of population Chinese in 2001) and considerably
greater than the rest of London (1.12 per cent of population Chinese in 2001.

Within the St James Ward Census boundary, which includes Chinatown, the percentage of
the population that is Chinese has increased from 1.63 per cent of the population in 1991
to 3.3 per cent in 2001.




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3          CHARACTER AND FUNCTION OF CHINATOWN

When considering planning applications in Chinatown, the City Council will firstly assess
these against the replacement UDP. Entertainment uses including restaurants, cafes,
pubs, bars and night clubs, will be assessed against policies TACE 8-10, in chapter 8 of
the replacement UDP. In addition to those policies, the following section provides guidance
which will also be taken into consideration including:

           descriptive information regarding the character and function of Chinatown to
            support the interpretation of Policies TACE 8-10 of the replacement UDP
            (particularly paragraphs 8.87 and 8.90-8.91).
           guidance on the interpretation of Policies TACE 8-10 of the UDP for existing
            restaurants and cafes having regard to the special characteristics of Chinatown.

3.1         Pattern, Mix and Intensity of Land use

3.1.1 Overview of land uses in Chinatown7

Chinatown is a mixed-use area with a higher proportion of floorspace devoted to
restaurants, pubs, snack bars, cafes, wine bars and takeaways than other areas within the
Central Activities Zone. In particular, restaurant and café uses dominate this area at
ground floor level (46%) and this high concentration of Chinese and East Asian
restaurants and cafes has become an important and central part of the area’s distinctive
character and function and its appeal to visitors, as well as being an important source of
local employment.

The area also accommodates a sizeable residential population, and a variety of small
businesses, including retail, financial and medical services and offices. These shops and
services, often located at first and second floor level, cater to London’s Chinese
community, local residents and workers as well as visitors to London. The City Council is
committed to maintaining this diversity of functions, which contributes strongly to the
sustainability of Chinatown as an inner-city community and mixed-use area. The City
Council is also committed to seeing a more diverse and sustainable array of land uses at
ground floor level, which is currently dominated by cafes, restaurants and bars.

Appendix 1 provides details on the mix of land uses within the Chinatown area at ground
floor and above.

3.1.2 Retailing and services

The City Council wants to protect the character and unique variety of shopping in the West
End International centre and other areas in central London, and the overall service shops
provide to residents workers and tourists. (Replacement UDP- paragraph 7.55).

Convenience and speciality retail is an important element of the Chinatown land use mix,
with Asian supermarkets, bakeries, medical services, travel agents and financial services,
amongst other uses, providing important services to London’s Chinese communities. A
high proportion of Chinatown retailers are independent, with national retailers having a
limited presence in the area. The long-term sustainability of Chinatown is dependent on

7
    Data for this section from Chinatown Landuse Survey August 2004


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maintaining this mix of speciality shops and services, and the City Council is committed to
protecting this unique retailing environment.

Businesses have expanded vertically into the first, second and even third floors of
buildings, utilising shared access ways to access retail and residential premises. This
diverse mix of use has added to the range of services available to the local community and
will continue to be supported by the City Council where appropriate. However these uses
operating in such close proximity to each other raise a number of planning issues including
noise, access, security and privacy, as well as the need for additional advertising for upper
floor uses. Advertisement guidance is provided in Part 4: Design guidance.

Business in Chinatown is dynamic, with a high turnover of leases. At the first floor and
above demand for space for a range of uses such as retail and offices can change rapidly
over time according to the market. There is an existing provision in the Town and Country
Planning Act (Part 3, Class E of Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General
Permitted Development Order) 1995) for flexible planning consents that allow for a unit to
change between two or more approved uses within a 10-year period, without further
planning permission being required. Leaseholders in Chinatown currently use these
consents to allow a change between uses without having to wait for further planning
approval.

There is demand within Chinatown for increased opening hours for retail, financial and
professional services into the evening, weekends and public holidays to enable business
transactions with China. Generally, the City Council would not impose conditions on the
hours of operation of such premises. However any applications for new air conditioning
plant in connection with the opening hours of any premises would be required to
demonstrate that any associated noise levels would not be audible to any nearby
residents.


Guidance
(A) Existing shop use at ground floor level is protected. New shops at ground floor level that are
used by the local residential and business community in Chinatown are encouraged. New service
use (for example banks/building societies, medical uses) at ground floor level will normally be
allowed provided this does not displace an existing shop or lead to an over concentration of non
shopping uses.

(B) The location of shops and services at first floor level and above may be permitted, provided
City Council is satisfied that relevant UDP Policies have been met, that the amenity of
neighbouring premises is protected, and that access arrangements are satisfactory. No loss of
residential accommodation will be permitted, unless it is replaced elsewhere within the vicinity to
the satisfaction of the City Council.




3.1.2 Residential land use & population
‘Sustainable residential communities will be achieved by building more homes,
safeguarding residents’ amenities, protecting residential uses from commercial activities
and maintaining and encouraging a full range of accessible local services and shopping
facilities.’ (Replacement UDP Part 1, 1.16: Our Planning Strategy).




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Chinatown has a significant residential population. There are a total of 256 residential units
in the area, housing an estimated 512 persons.8 A significant proportion of these of these
units are located in the eastern part of Chinatown within the Newport Sandringham
building, a residential apartment property constructed in the 1980’s. There are other
significant clusters of residential accommodation located on Shaftesbury Avenue and in
Lisle Street. The remaining units are distributed quite evenly throughout the area on the
upper floors of buildings and, placing them within close proximity to the area’s restaurants,
cafes, bars and shops. In many cases, these units accommodate staff working within
Chinatown, and thus make an important contribution to the restaurant trade. 9 This
indicates a linkage between some of the residential occupiers in Chinatown and the
commercial activities taking place. This is an unusual situation and not typical of other
parts of Westminster.

The City Council is concerned to ensure that the existing provision of housing within
Chinatown is maintained and that the amenity of all residential occupiers in Chinatown is
not adversely effected by the intensity of other land uses and their hours of operation.


Further information
Retailing and services
     Replacement UDP Policy Chapter 7: Shopping and Services.
Residential land use & population
     Replacement UDP Chapter 3: Housing.
     Replacement UDP Chapter 8: Tourism, Arts, Culture and Entertainment.


3.2        Entertainment and the Night-time economy


3.2.1 Overview of Entertainment and the Night-time economy

‘The City Council’s view is that a balance has to be struck between protecting and
encouraging residential uses in the City centre, its importance as a location for business
uses and the role that parts of Westminster perform as places of late night entertainment’.
(Replacement UDP –paragraph 8.56j)

Chinatown has a vibrant night-time economy, including 82 restaurants and cafes and 11
pubs and bars. It is located within the West End Stress Area, an area that has in recent
years become saturated with entertainment uses, consisting of restaurants, pubs, snack
bars, cafes, wine bars, shops for sale of hot food, bingo halls and casinos etc. The
cumulative impact of these uses within the West End Stress Area means that the problems
of nuisance and disorder can have an impact wider than on the immediate vicinity.
Although Chinatown has a higher proportion of restaurants pubs, snack bars, cafes and
takeaways than any other area within the CAZ, night-time amenity in the area has been
rated as good.

Appendix 2 illustrates the distribution of entertainment uses at ground floor level.

8
  Note: As the boundary of Chinatown does not match Census boundaries, it is not possible to obtain the exact residential population of
Chinatown from Census data. The figure given is an estimate based on the number of residential units in Chinatown (256), multiplied by
the average household size in the St James Ward census boundary (2 persons per household).
10 Based on advice provided by Shaftesbury Plc, 2004.




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Chinatown has a higher proportion of restaurants, pubs, snack bars, cafes and takeaways
than any other area within the CAZ however despite this night time amenity in the area has
been rated as good.

Information contained in this section complements The City Council’s Statement of
Licensing Policy (published January 7 2005) which provides guidance for the licensing of
premises selling alcohol, offering entertainment or serving food late at night.


3.2.2 Restaurants

The City Council recognises that entertainment uses are integral to Chinatown’s functioning and
place in central London. The restaurants and cafes in Chinatown in particular are often visited by
people making shopping, theatre and cinema trips and therefore support the shopping and
traditional entertainment functions of the West End, they provide activity, surveillance and vibrancy
at night in an area that is used as a thoroughfare for people going to and from Leicester Square
and Soho. The restaurant trade in Chinatown is fundamental to its character and helps makes it
famous throughout the world.

The City Council recognises that uses such as restaurants and cafes generally have less impact
on residential amenity then other uses where alcohol is the main offer or where music and dance
takes place.


3.2.3 Late night entertainment uses

Chinatown has a lively night time economy which is dominated by the provision of restaurants and
cafes. Night time activity is characteristic of this area

There are a number of premises in Chinatown which have historic licences with very late
closing hours.

Chinatown has 20 sit-down waiter service restaurants providing meals after 12.30, with
closing hours on these licences ranging from 1 am to 5am. Six licenses have closing
hours of 5am, 4 licences each at 4am and 3 am, 3 licences at 2am and 2 at 1am. 10

In addition, there are currently 13 premises holding 17 public entertainment licences
between them. These premises have a range of closing hours from 1am to 6am and
include restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels. Closing hours are concentrated at 3pm, with 6
licences having 3am closing hours. Another 3 licences have been issued with closing
hours at 6am.

It is expected that holders of current night café licences and public entertainment licences
will convert their licenses under the Licensing Act 2003, and will operate at least until the
same closing time. Due to the introduction of the Licensing Act 2003 there may be further
interest from licensees in Chinatown to extend their hours of operation.

Currently Chinatown offers staggered closing times for entertainment uses due to the
existence of unrestricted planning permissions and a range of licences which have been
granted for extended hours. The City Council considers that a range of closing times for
uses would be in keeping with the character of the Chinatown area. Closing times

10
     Night cafe and public entertainment licensing data. Westminster City Council. 27 August 2004.


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staggered throughout the night will also avoid concentrations of customers leaving
premises in Chinatown at the same time and thereby minimise the impact on residential
amenity.

Details of the current Entertainment uses/licensed premises closing times are shown in
Appendix 3.

3.2.4 Night- time amenity

Amenity (environmental quality) levels in Chinatown have been measured objectively and
compared to other areas in the Central Activities Zone in the Chinatown Shopping Area
Health Check 2002. These measurements were undertaken prior to the implementation of
the Chinatown Action Plan, which has resulted in a significant improvement on those
levels. The high density of licensed venues surrounding the area, in addition to the 12
pubs and bars within Chinatown, creates conditions that encourage alcohol-induced crime
and anti-social behaviour. Though much calmer than the surrounding areas of Soho and
Leicester Square, Chinatown is still within a Police defined ‘hot-box’ of crime.11
Consequently, and as part of the City Council’s Civic Renewal Programme, the area has
its own dedicated team of City Guardians to assist in actively managing the space and
deterring crime and anti-social behaviour. Since the introduction of the service, recorded
incidences of crime and anti-social behaviour have significantly reduced. 12

In 2002, the Chinatown night-time amenity was rated as good in terms of street fouling,
glass and debris, vandalism, drunkenness, rough sleepers, beggars, street drinkers, illegal
trading and touting. The area rated fifth out of the 19 Central Activities Zone Areas in the
City for night time amenity13.

Certain areas within Chinatown have a lower level of night-time amenity. These areas
include: Newport Court, where businesses are generally closed in the evenings and
security shutters create an unwelcoming environment (Refer to section 4.1.4 for guidance
regarding security shutters); Lisle Street, which has a wall of dark and inactive cinema
frontages on it’s south side; and Horse and Dolphin Yard and Dansey Place, both of which
are rear servicing yards with minimal supervision (refer to section 4.2.4 Public Spaces for
guidance regarding these spaces).

The 2002 pedestrian count in the area suggests that night-time pedestrian flows are quite
high through Chinatown, with additional footfall created from people passing through en
route to venues in Soho and Leicester Square. Footfall is highest between 10 and 12
midnight and significantly decreases after 1am.

Details of pedestrian flows are contained in Appendix 4 and Appendix 5 provides a more
detailed outline of the findings of a night-time survey carried out for the City Council in
2002.

Further information
    PPS 1 & guidance note: Safer Places: the Planning System and Crime Prevention
     (ODPM).
    SPG Designing out Crime in Westminster.

11
  Chinatown Action Plan. WCC, 2003.
12
  Based on Reported Incidents data and CivicWatch hotbox anti-social behaviour data analysis.
13
   Based on 1 night of observation. Surveys undertaken between 11pm and 12pm in all 20 Central Activities Zones, and each centre
rated against criteria relating to security, the environment, cleanliness and other amenities. (Night Time Activity report- City of
Westminster August 2003).


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3.2.5 Noise levels

Noise pollution is a serious concern for the City Council when considering applications for
new and extended entertainment premises across the West End Stress Area.

There are a number of sources of noise in the area. These include noise from the activities
taking place in commercial premises and from any associated plant, and noise from the
street, involving people, activities and traffic.

The most prevalent source of both day and night-time noise complaints in Chinatown is
from commercial premises. The majority of these complaints concern loud music from
pubs and clubs. Noise in the street is also of concern, although this can come from a
number of sources including the comings and goings of customers from late night uses,
during the period from March 2003- September 2004 in Chinatown the main cause of
concern comprised specific activities in the street including buskers . 14

There have been a number of complaints regarding noise from plant, for example air-
conditioning units.

In terms of traffic, the main sources of night-time noise in Chinatown are motor vehicles
and traffic noise is worst along Shaftesbury Avenue, Charing Cross Road and Coventry
Street where noise levels remain high throughout the evening. The pedestrianised Gerrard
Street is much quieter, and here the noise from individual vehicles, such as taxis and
cleansing vehicles can be a disruptive, rather than constant source of noise.

Detailed guidance regarding design and operational measures to minimise and contain
noise are provided in policies ENV 6a and ENV6b of the replacement UDP. Applicants will
normally be required to submit a full acoustic report for any new plant and in addition may
be required to submit an acoustic report for changes of use or hours that may cause an
increase in noise levels.


3.3         The Policy Context- Special Circumstances for Restaurants in Chinatown

3.3.1 Overview

The above paragraphs set out the character function and activities of Chinatown. There
are a number of factors, which cumulatively differentiate it from other areas in
Westminster. Chinatown is a mixed use area comprising of a number of specialist shops
and businesses however the restaurant trade is also fundamental to its character. Unlike
other parts of the West End however the area has a relatively good level of night time
amenity despite the number of existing late night uses. Although we would not want to
loose the existing special character of the area by encouraging the introduction of new
restaurants and extensions of existing restaurants into adjoining ground floor or basement
premises, displacing existing shops and services, there may be scope for expansion of
existing restaurants on the upper floors of premises and some flexibility in their hours of
opening. It is however important to ensure that that this does not happen at the expense of
amenity to residential occupiers by way of increased late night noise and disturbance.

3.3.2 Extensions to existing restaurants/cafes

14
     Westminster City Council noise complaints data: March- September 04


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Policies TACE 8-10 in the replacement UDP control the location and growth of
entertainment uses within Westminster. Policy TACE 9 is applicable to restaurants and
cafes inside the Stress Area with a floorspace of between 150sqm and 500sqm.

In Chinatown, subject to any application complying with all other criteria in TACE 9 and
other policies in the replacement UDP, given the existing character and function of the
area, it is considered that there may be scope for existing basement and ground floor
restaurants resulting in a floorspace of between 150sqm and 500sqm to expand into the
upper floors.


Guidance
(A) The expansion of existing restaurants and cafés, at basement and ground floor level into first
    and second floor levels (resulting in a gross floorspace of between 150sqm and 500sqm) may
    be considered acceptable, provided the City Council is satisfied that:

(i)     the amenity of neighbouring premises is protected (including from any associated plant) and
        that adequate storage for refuse has been provided;
(ii)    the extension is only used in conjunction with an existing restaurant;
(iii)   any extension to the existing restaurant/cafe will operate as a sit down waiter service only,
        with any bar facilities being ancillary only.
(iv)    No take away service is provided in the extension to the existing restaurant;
(v)     Access arrangements are satisfactory and a separate internal staircase for access and
        adequate noise insulation measures are provided if the restaurant use is located immediately
        adjoining below or above any residential use; and
(vi)    Protected uses are not displaced, for example retail or residential

Whilst the City Council recognises that exiting restaurant use is important to the character
and function of Chinatown we need to make sure that we manage the growth of new
restaurants in line with replacement UDP polices TACE 8-10.

Applications for all entertainment uses including restaurants and cafes which result in a
gross floorspace of more than 500sqm, and for pubs, bars, takeaways and other
entertainment uses (resulting in a gross floospace of between 150sqm and 500sqm) are
subject to replacement UDP Policy TACE 10 and will only be allowed in exceptional
circumstances.

3.3.3 Opening hours for existing restaurants/cafes

Chinatown is a mixed use area and is not therefore considered to be a ‘predominantly
residential area’ for the purposes as outlined in paragraph 8.88 of policies TACE 8-10 of
the replacement UDP.

In considering the hours of operation of a proposed or an existing entertainment use in
Chinatown the criteria under paragraph 8.87 of policies TACE 8-10 of the replacement
UDP will be used. This calls for an assessment of the application in relation to (i) the
immediate surrounding - including the proximity to residential uses and their number, the
existing level of night-time activity, the existing levels of night-time disturbance and anti
social behaviour and the number of existing and proposed entertainment uses in the
vicinity and their opening hours and (ii) in relation to the locality as a whole – including the
character and function of the area including the number of residential uses, the availability
of nightime public transport and the benefit which might arise from entertainment premises
in a locality having different closing times.

Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                              12
The City Council considered that a range of closing times for uses which have a minimal
impact on residential amenity would be in keeping with the character of the Chinatown
area. Closing times staggered throughout the night will also avoid concentrations of
customers leaving premises in Chinatown at the same time.


Guidance
Restaurants and Cafes

(A) Applications for the extension of opening hours for existing restaurants and cafes
    within the defined Chinatown area will generally be supported by the City Council
    where the current use is restricted by conditions to:
     -a sit down waiter service only restaurant or café, (where they may or may not offer an ancillary
     bar area only).

(B) Applications for extensions of opening hours for existing restaurants and cafes as defined
under (A)
-Must not operate a take away food service (during the extended hours of operation).
-Must not play recorded or live music (during the extended hours of operation).
-Must agree to provide suitable measures to protect residential amenity in the vicinity (during the
    extended hours of operation)
-Must not be located immediately adjoining any residential use.
-May require a satisfactory supporting statement in respect of the management of the use (to be
    tied to any permission by way of a Section 106 agreement and which will apply to the extended
    hours of use)


(C)The City Council considers that a range of closing times for restaurants allowable under (A) and
(B) would be in keeping with the character of Chinatown.

(D)The City Council encourages earlier closing times for premises on a Sunday night and Bank
Holidays (except those Sundays proceeding a Bank Holiday).

(E) Any applications for new plant in association with the hours of operation will be assessed
against policies ENV6a and ENV6b of the replacement UDP.

Other Entertainment Uses including Pubs, Bars and Takeaways

(E) The City Council will generally not support the extension of hours of public houses, bars, take
aways and night-clubs in the Chinatown area. See replacement UDP polices TACE 8-10 for further
information.


    Note: Those premises in Chinatown which currently operate without any restrictions on
     hours contained in a planning permission will be required to consider licensing status
     under the Licensing Act 2003 and advised to consider the City Council’s Statement of
     Licensing Policy which contains a policy on Hours of Operation.


Further information
Entertainment and the late night economy
   Replacement UDP Policies ENV 6a and ENV 6b.
   Replacement UDP Policies TACE 8-10
City of Westminster Statement of Licensing Policy 2005.


Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                               13
3.4         Public Transport, Pedestrian Movement, Parking and Servicing

3.4.1 Public Transport

Chinatown is well-serviced by public transport, particularly until 12.30 a m. London Buses
runs day and night services along Shaftesbury Avenue (No.s 38,19 and 14) and Charing
Cross Road (No’s 24,2 9,176, N5, N20, N24, N29, N43, N176, N279).

Leicester Square, on the Piccadilly and Northern Lines, is the closest Underground Station
to Chinatown. However there is only one entrance on the western side of Charing Cross
Road, leading to congestion during peak periods.

Piccadilly Circus Underground Station provides access to the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines
and Tottenham Court Road provides access to the Central Line and Northern Line. The
last underground services leaving these stations in all directions are between 00.30am and
00.38am from Monday to Saturdays, and between 11.30 and 11.45 pm on Sundays. After
these hours, passengers are reliant upon night bus services.

National Rail Services are also available from nearby Charing Cross Station.

At night, after 12.30 am the London Night Bus service, along with taxis are the main
source of public transport.

Appendix 6 illustrates the proximity of transport networks to Chinatown and the location of bus
stops and underground stations.

3.4.2 Pedestrian movement

Within Chinatown day-time pedestrian flows are greatest at the corner of Wardour Street
and Coventry Street, at the southern end of Chinatown’s boundary. A summer weekly
footfall of 124,000 pedestrians was recorded at this location in 2002.15 Gerrard Street
also experiences high footfalls, with a recorded weekly footfall of 75,600, followed by the
corner of Wardour Street and Lisle Street (weekly footfall of 54,000 recorded). For its
narrow footway, Newport Court also experiences a high level of pedestrian flow registering
a weekly footfall of 44,800. 16

3.4.3 Parking and servicing

On-street parking facilities are heavily used throughout Chinatown; however, the constant
appearance of parked vehicles detracts from the streetscape and hampers the movement
of pedestrians, particularly during the daytime. The main locations for on-street parking
within Chinatown are Wardour Street, Rupert Street and Lisle Street, which contain pay-
and-display bays and a limited number of resident parking bays.

Off-street parking is provided within the WCC operated, 320-space Chinatown Car Park
accessed from Newport Place (open 24 hours). Off-street parking is also available from
the private parking facility at the corner of Lisle and Wardour Street, accessed from
Leicester Street.


15
     Leicester Square 2002 Pedestrian Flowcount . Survey undertaken 28-29 June 2002. PMRS Ltd.
16
     Leicester Square 2002 Pedestrian Flowcount . Survey undertaken 28-29 June 2002. PMRS Ltd.


Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                              14
Access to loading and unloading facilities are of vital importance to businesses in
Chinatown, however, these operations can also cause vehicular congestion, hinder the
movement of pedestrians and create constant visual obstruction to the streetscape-
generally during daylight hours. For these reasons, servicing of business in Chinatown is
controlled by limiting loading hours to between 7am and 12 noon daily on Gerrard Street
and Macclesfield Street (south of Dansey Place). Leicester Street, Leicester Place and
Leicester Court are all part of the vehicular access restriction zone for Leicester Square
between the hours of 7am-12 noon.

Guidance
(A) The ability to adequately service businesses is clearly important to the function of Chinatown,
and applications for development will need to demonstrate, to the City Council’s satisfaction that
servicing requirements can be adequately met.


4          CHINATOWN DESIGN AND PUBLIC REALM GUIDANCE

4.1        Urban design and conservation

4.1.1 Overview Urban Design and Conservation

This advice is intended to help applicants to produce designs which will enhance the
existing character of Chinatown, whilst respecting its special architectural and historic
interest.
The advice is based on:

     the policies in Chapter 10 of the replacement Unitary Development Plan: Urban Design
      and Conservation,
     Supplementary planning guidance produced by the City Council on a variety of
      subjects (which explains how the above policies are to be implemented).
     The guidance for shopfronts, signs and menu boards is illustrated in Figures 2-5.

Chinatown character

Chinatown is located within the Soho Conservation Area and has a mixed architectural
character, consisting of historic Georgian, Victorian buildings, along side more recent
buildings. The Georgian buildings are generally located along Lisle Street, Gerrard Street,
Wardour and Rupert Streets; the Victorian buildings along Shaftesbury Avenue; the more
modern, 20th Century, buildings at the corner of Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury
Avenue.

Beginning with the arrival of the Chinese in the 1950s, a vibrant and distinctive Chinese,
East and Southeast Asian design character has gradually developed in the area.
Customised shopfronts, Chinese signage and motifs, bespoke street furniture and
Chinese-style arches are layered over and complement the area’s historic architectural
character.

The Chinese, East and Southeast Asian influence is now an important part of the streetscape. It
gives the area a character that is unique within London and makes a strong contribution to the
City’s architectural and cultural heritage. There is opportunity for enhancing this character through
encouraging high quality new development that is sympathetic to this historic and cultural context.

Appendix 7 shows the current Conservation area boundaries.


Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                               15
The distinctive nature of Chinatown is recognised in the emerging consultation draft Soho
Conservation Area Audit. Which includes a recommendation that Chinatown should form a
separate conservation area.

Guidance
Proposals for new development within the area will need to demonstrate that they are consistent
with and will enhance the existing character of Chinatown.


4.1.3 Shopfronts

There are a number of historic and modern shopfronts in Chinatown which make a
valuable contribution to the Soho Conservation Area. Many of these have been adapted
and embellished with Chinese characters, vibrant colouring and ornamentation. Important
historic shopfronts are identified in the draft Soho Conservation Audit. These should be
retained.

New shopfronts provide opportunities to enhance the area and make a positive
contribution to the streetscape. The City Council expects new shopfronts, whether modern
or historic in style, to be of high quality, related architecturally to the existing building and
designed in sympathy with the character of Chinatown.

The use of brightly coloured retractable canvas awnings adds colour and interest to the
area. Care needs to be taken to ensure that colours and finishes are not garish and
advertisements on the awnings are limited to the name of the business and their size kept
to a minimum.


Guidance

(A) Shopfronts that contribute to the historic character of Chinatown and the wider Soho
Conservation area, as identified in the Soho Conservation Audit, shall be retained and preserved.

(B) New shopfronts should use Chinese influenced decorative detail and ornamentation, for
example, Chinese motifs can be used in shopfront fascias or pilaster details.

(C) Modern designs may be acceptable, provided they are of high quality and are designed in
sympathy with the area’s character and relate satisfactorily to the architectural proportions of the
building.

(D) Opening shopfronts are generally unacceptable because they are alien to the character of the
area and detract from the streetscape.

(E) Traditional retractable awnings may be acceptable.


4.1.4 Advertisements and signs

The character of Chinatown is enhanced by signs with a Chinese appearance, generally
including Chinese characters and with bright lettering in gold, red and green. However,
there are numerous poorer quality signs, including A-boards on the pavements and signs
applied to buildings at various levels. Some signs are too large for the building they are
fixed too. Some are excessively bright and over illuminated. The combined effect of these


Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                               16
numerous advertisements is a visually cluttered streetscape, which harms the character
and appearance of the area and defeats the aim of drawing attention to a particular service
or premises.

The City Council will work with building owners and occupiers to encourage signage that
clearly advertises businesses but reduces visual clutter, whilst contributing to Chinatown’s
character.

For street name signing, the City Council has a variation of the standard Westminster
Street nameplate that includes a translation in Chinese characters.

Guidance
(A) Illuminated advertisements and any located above shopfront fascia level will normally require
advertisement consent. Listed building consent is also required for any type of sign attached to a
listed building.

(B) Information displayed on exterior signs should be directly related to the business name or
services offered within the premises.

(C) All signs and advertisements should be of high design quality and enhance Chinatown’s
character.

Ground floor businesses
(D) Signs should be located on shopfront fascias. Pilasters and columns should not normally be
used for advertisements.

(E) Lettering can be painted onto fascia boards. Alternatively three-dimensional letters can be
used.

(F) Internally illuminated box fascia signs are not appropriate.

(G) Signs behind the shopfront glazing should be kept to a minimum, to allow views into the
premises, and to reduce visual clutter.

(H) Projecting hanging board signs, suspended from traditional style brackets, are acceptable for
advertising ground floor premises. These should be mounted so that the main part of the sign is at
fascia level. They should normally measure no more than 800 mm by 600 mm. Internally
illuminated projecting box signs are not appropriate.

Upper floor businesses
(I) Signs should not normally be fixed to building facades, or to windows, above the shopfront level.

(J) To advertise businesses at first floor level and above, vertically proportioned projecting hanging
signs may be permissible at first floor level. Such signs should be suspended from hanging
brackets. They can be vertically proportioned boards or perhaps a number of small boards linked
vertically, one small board for each premises.

Illumination
(K) Internally illuminated box signs are inappropriate and unacceptable.

(L) Neon signs at fascia level may be acceptable, provided they are of a fixed and constant light.
Moving or flashing signs are considered to be unacceptable.

4.1.5      Menu boards




Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                               17
External menu boards are an important part of Chinatown’s character. However too many
large menu boards, and A-boards placed on the public highway, detract from the
streetscape, clutter the pavement and obstruct pedestrians.

Working with landowners and occupiers, the City Council would like to reduce the overall
visual impact of menu boards and integrate them more successfully into the streetscape.

Guidance
(A) Menu boards should be located close to the restaurant entrance. They should not be located
    on or encroach on the public highway.
(B) They should be as small as possible. The size should normally be about 500 mm by 300 mm.
(C) Only one menu board will be permitted for each property. Where a property has two street
    frontages, a second board may be permitted.
(D) Menu boards shall be of a high design quality, whether traditional or modern in style. They can
    be externally or internally illuminated.

4.1.6 Shop front security

The use of solid roller shutters on the outside of shopfronts has a detrimental impact on
the appearance of buildings and the character of streets within Chinatown. These shutters
deter people from using an area and can attract, rather than deter, anti-social behaviour.

Whilst recognising the security needs of businesses, the City Council is concerned to
ensure the safety and amenity of residents and visitors and will support security measures
that can achieve both objectives.

Guidance
(A) Permission will not be granted for solid, external roller shutters, except in specially justified
circumstances.

(B) There are alternatives to solid exterior security shutters, such as open brick-bond type grilles
which can offer security, whilst still allowing views into shops, and do not detract from the
appearance of the street. They should be located within the shop, behind the shop window,
wherever possible.

(C) Businesses are encouraged to keep shopfront windows lit after trading hours to enhance safety
in the area.

Further information – City Council policy and supplementary planning guidance
    Replacement UDP policy DES 5- Alterations and extensions and DES 8 –signs and
     Advertisements.
    Repairs and alterations to listed buildings.
    Shopfronts, blinds and signs
    Design Guidelines for Shopfront Security
    Shopfronts, blinds and signs

4.1.7 Listed buildings and buildings that make a positive contribution to Chinatown

Listed buildings are buildings of special architectural and historic interest. The are listed
by Central Government and enjoy special protection under the law. There are many
Grade II listed buildings within Chinatown that make an important contribution to the



Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                                     18
streetscape and to the Soho Conservation Area. These are concentrated on Gerrard
Street and Lisle Street, and are shown in Appendix 8.

Many listed buildings in the area have very valuable and important interiors, containing
historic panelling, plasterwork, staircases and so on. These all need to be carefully
conserved.

Listed buildings

Wardour Street                      7     9     27    29    31    41   43
Newport Court                       4     6     8     12    13    18   19   20-20A    21-24   25     26
Rupert Street                       22    24    26    28
Gerrard Street                      3     4     5     6     9     12   16   18   19     30     31     36
                                    39    40    41    47
Charing Cross Road                  Former Welsh Presbyterian Church
Shaftesbury Avenue                  136 (Welsh Presbyterian Church Manse)
Lisle Street                        5     6     7     14    15    16   17   18   19     20     21     22
                                    23    24    25    26    27
Little Newport Street               8     9     10    11    14    15

In addition, there are a number of unlisted buildings that make a positive contribution to the
character of the area, and a schedule of these buildings can be found in the draft Soho
Conservation Audit. There is a strong presumption in favour of retaining these buildings.

Guidance
(A) Listed building consent is required for alterations which affect the special architectural and
historic interest of a listed building. These can include both external and internal alterations. It is a
criminal offence to carry out works to a listed building without first obtaining listed building consent.
Applicants should contact City Council’s Development Planning Services to discuss any proposed
works to a listed building. Applicants should show how their proposals will preserve the special
architectural and historic interest of listed buildings.

(B) Permission will not normally be given for proposals which involve the demolition or substantial
demolition of unlisted buildings which make a positive contribution to the character and
appearance of Chinatown. A schedule of these buildings and further advice on this matter is
located in the (draft) Soho Conservation Audit.


Further information – City Council policy and supplementary planning guidance
Conservation area and listed building matters
 Emerging Soho Conservation Audit
 Replacement UDP policies DES 9 - Conservation Areas and DES 10 - Listed Buildings
 The Protection of Historic Buildings in Westminster
 Repairs and Alterations to Listed Buildings
 Development and Demolition in Conservation Areas

4.1.8 Features that make a negative contribution to Chinatown

There are a few buildings, which make a negative contribution to the streetscape of
Chinatown. These include :-
    The Shaftesbury Avenue fire station building has an unattractive brick side wall fronting
     Gerrard Place and an ugly rear servicing area.



Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                                  19
    The former Post Office and Telephone Exchange at 32-35 Gerrard Street, and extending
     through to Lisle Street, is out of scale and character with the area.
    The Warner Cinema, Leicester Square has a largely blank frontage to Lisle Street.
    The Newport Sandringham building, on Charing Cross Road, which has an unattractive internal
     colonnade on its main frontage and an un-attactractive rear servicing area and car park
     entrance fronting Newport Place.

Guidance
(A) The City Council will seek to work with landowners to improve the appearance of buildings that
make a negative contribution to Chinatown’s streetscape and to the Soho Conservation Area.
Improvements may include the cleaning of frontages, the use of public art and lighting to improve a
building’s appearance.


4.1.9 Roof extensions

Roof extensions on existing buildings are often unacceptable, because they can result in the
demolition of rare and valuable historic roof structures (especially on listed buildings) or they can
harm the appearance of buildings. In Chinatown, many buildings already have mansard roofs, or
are complete architectural compositions, which would be spoilt by further extensions. Therefore,
there are very few opportunities for new roof extensions in Chinatown.

Guidance
(A) New roof extensions are unlikely to be acceptable in Chinatown. The emerging Soho
Conservation Audit will identify those buildings which may be extended at roof level.

Further information – City Council policy and supplementary planning guidance
    Replacement UDP policy DES 6: Alterations and Extensions at Roof Level.
    Roofs: A Guide to Alterations and Extensions on Domestic Buildings

4.1.10 Lighting of buildings

A variety of fittings have been installed on commercial premises to light building frontages and
advertisements. However, many of the existing light units are too large and/or insensitively
located, and so detract from the appearance of the buildings and the quality of the streetscape.

Guidance
(A)The City Council will only approve exterior lighting schemes where the lighting units (and
associated cabling) are small, located discreetly, or preferably completely hidden. Their visual
impact should be minimised.

(B) The City Council may also consider favourably applications for high quality decorative lighting
in Chinatown, that is of a Chinese or East Asian appearance (decorative lanterns at shopfront
level, for example).


Further information – City Council policy and supplementary planning guidance
Building lighting
    Replacement UDP policy DES 7


The Public Realm

4.2.1 Overview


Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                                20
The Chinatown Action Area Plan was produced in September 2003 as part of the Civic
Renewal Programme in order to both identify issues requiring attention in the area and
devise a plan to address them. The following section isuuse that were raised in this
document and provides guidance on these matters.

4.2.2 Improving the visibility of Chinatown

To assist visitors to find Chinatown, the City Council and the Chinatown community have
been looking at a number of options to make it easier for visitors to find the area.

One option being explored is the installation of a new gateway from Leicester Square to
mark and celebrate the southern entrance to the area. Public artworks will also be
encouraged in appropriate locations.

To improve visibility from Charing Cross Road, Newport Place and Shaftesbury Avenue,
property owners of key corner sites could include appropriate Chinese, East and
Southeast Asian features on building frontages, to identify and demarcate Chinatown’s
boundaries. Any such features should be of high quality and related sensitively to the
building on which they are fixed.

Guidance
(A)The following corner sites, could be used to display high-quality features which enhance the
character of and assist in identifying Chinatown. This may include Chinese character signage,
Chinese influenced-colour schemes, decorative lighting and modest ornamentation. This will
generally be acceptable at ground floor level only.

          Little Newport Street/ Charing Cross Road (north side)
          Newport Court/ Charing Cross Road (both sides)
          Gerrard Place/ Shaftesbury Avenue (both sides)
          Macclesfield Street / Shaftesbury Avenue (both sides)
          Wardour Street/ Shaftesbury Avenue (both sides)
          Wardour Street/ Gerrard Street (both sides)
          Wardour Street/ Lisle Street
          Gerrard Street/ Newport Place.

The location of these sites are marked in Appendix 9.

4.2.3 Street environment

The City Council, in considering development proposals, will aim to secure an improved
environment for pedestrians, with particular regard to their safety, ease, convenience and
directness of movement…’ (Replacement UDP Policy TRANS 3).

With the pedestrianised Gerrard Street at its centre, Chinatown has a generally amenable
environment for walking. However, the busy Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross
Roads are located at it’s boundaries, and the intersections of these roads with Little
Newport Street, Wardour Street, Macclesfield Place and Gerrard Street have high accident
statistics, particularly for those involving pedestrians and cyclists.

The streets of Chinatown experience high levels of pedestrian usage throughout the day
and into the evening. Footpaths are often narrow, with constant traffic movements by
parking and servicing vehicles adding to pedestrian congestion. Unnecessary street
furniture, A-frame signage and goods located on footpaths can clutter the footway and
make movement more difficult for wheelchair users and those with small children. This is


Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                               21
particularly the case on Lisle Street, Wardour Street, Shaftesbury Avenue and Little
Newport Street.

Access to the main London Underground Station servicing Chinatown, Leicester Square
Station is inadequate to service the needs of the wider area. Only one exit services the
western side of Charing Cross Road causing congestion for pedestrians. An additional
entrance on this side is a long-term aspiration of the City Council.

Council is investigating traffic and environmental improvements for Chinatown, including
new street furniture befitting the area’s character. Due to its high footfall and the
concentration of restaurants in the area, Chinatown also has specific requirements for
regular intensive cleansing and this will influence the surfacing materials and street
furniture considered appropriate for the area.

Guidance

(A) As far as possible, footways are to be kept free of clutter. The placing of any goods on the
    public highway requires the approval of the City Council. Where goods are found to be
    obstructing the movement of pedestrians or causing a nuisance, the City Council will
    undertake enforcement action.

(B) The City Council will encourage Transport for London to undertake a feasibility study into
    improvements to the Leicester Square Underground station, which would assist improving
    access to Chinatown including an additional entrance on the western side of Charing Cross
    Road.

(C) The City Council will investigate environmental improvements in Chinatown that focus on
    improving pedestrian amenity and flow; improving the safety and attractiveness of Lisle Street
    and managing pedestrian and vehicular conflicts.

(D) Creating a uniform street-furniture and paving scheme throughout Chinatown is a long-term
goal of the City Council. Any new scheme will need to have particular regard to clutter reduction,
durability and cleanliness issues, and will need to contribute to Chinatown’s unique character.


4.2.5 Open Space

Within Chinatown there are three areas of public space that are currently under-utilised,
and could be improved: Newport Place, Horse and Dolphin Yard and Dansey Place.

The existing pagoda in Newport Place is used as a central and convenient meeting point
within Chinatown and its retention is critical to the vitality and character and function of the
public realm. However Newport Place itself is poorly designed, surrounded with inactive
building frontages, and dominated by clutter, loading vehicles, and through-traffic. There is
potential to improve the public space around the pagoda by removing through-traffic, and
pedestrianising Newport Place south of Newport Court. However there would need to be
continued provision for servicing.

The two service yards, Horse and Dolphin Yard and Dansey Place are under utilised and
suffer from poor amenity and anti-social behaviour, including street urination and illegal fly
tipping. When considering redevelopment proposals the City Council will encourage the
upgrading of the public realm and the use of these spaces through additional activity such
as retailing along the frontages, where other planning considerations, particularly
residential amenity, community safety and servicing requirements can be met.


Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                           22
Guidance
(A) In consultation with the Chinatown Community, the City Council will seek to enhance Newport
    Place and the Pagoda in their role as the central public space in Chinatown. Improvements
    might include the removal of through-traffic, and pedestrianising Newport Place south of
    Newport Court.

(B) Any development in Horse and Dolphin Yard and Dansey Place should assist in activating
these spaces; addressing matters relating to crime and anti-social behaviour; and improving
amenity and the public realm. Applicants will need to have particular regard to maintaining or
improving residential amenity and servicing arrangements.

(C) The City Council has no intention to relocate the Pagoda. If an application were to be submitted
to relocate the Pagoda, within Newport Place, this would need to be justified by compelling public
realm benefits.

4.2.6 Special Events and Promotion

Lanterns and other decorations displayed during celebrations in Chinatown contribute
strongly to attracting visitors and creating a festive atmosphere. Such decorations are
encouraged, however they may require advertisement consent and must first be discussed
with Council’s Special Events team and Development Planning Services.

Guidance
(A) The use of Chinese decorations during special events is encouraged, provided they are of high
quality, are appropriately located, contribute to the character of the area, are temporary in nature,
and do not pose a risk to public health and safety. Any street decorations must be at least 5.2
metres above ground level to maintain access for emergency vehicles.

(B) Anyone wishing to install decorations in the public realm must first discuss with the City
Council’s Special Events team and Development Planning Services. This should occur well in
advance of the event.

(C) To avoid unnecessary waste, decorations that can be reused or recycled will be encouraged.


4.2.7 Public Art

‘Public Art can play a valuable role in enlivening the appearance of the physical
environment….It’s proper integration into a development can create a more stimulating
environment and play an important part in promoting the cultural image of Westminster’
(Replacement UDP –paragraph 10.80).

Public art could assist in the renewal of Chinatown through improving sites that are
currently unattractive and subject to anti-social behaviour. These include the cinema
frontages along Lisle Street, Horse and Dolphin Yard, Dansey Place and the fire station
wall. This would also provide local artists with the opportunity to display their talent and
could showcase Chinese, East and Southeast Asian artwork in London.

Guidance
(A) Public Art will be particularly encouraged at the following sites in Chinatown:
       - dead or inactive building frontages along Lisle Street and Gerrard Street,
       - in Horse and Dolphin Yard and Dansey Place,
       - the fire-station wall fronting Gerrard Place.

(B) Temporary artworks in other locations may also be acceptable.

Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                             23
(B) Applicants must demonstrate to City Council that the artwork will contribute to the character of
    Chinatown, and is of high quality.

(D) All public artwork in Westminster must be considered by the City Council’s Public Arts Advisory
Panel and will normally require planning permission.


Further information – City Council policy and supplementary planning guidance
Over view
. The Chinatown Action Plan
Improving visibility
   Replacement UDP policy DES 5 – Alterations and extensions; DES 8- Signs and
    Advertisements, DES 9- Conservation Areas
    Shopfronts, blinds and signs
    Advertisement Design Guidelines

Street Environment
  Replacement UDP Policy TACE 11.
    SPG: The Placing of Tables and Chairs on the Highway. (DPS 1994).
Westminster Way- Public Realm Manual for the City
Cycling
    Replacement UDP Policy TRANS 9: Cycling
    Replacement UDP Policy TRANS 10: Cycle Parking Standards
Special events and promotion
    City Council’s Special Events team on 020 7641 2390, or email: speciale@westminster.gov.uk.
Public artwork
    Replacement UDP Policy DES 7: Townscape Management.
    SPG- Public Art in Westminster (1994)
    For further information regarding public art in Chinatown, please contact WCC Design and
     Conservation Team on 020 7641 8705 or the Chinatown Arts Space Co-ordinator, who can be
     contacted via the West End Team 020 7641 7061.




Chinatown Supplementary Planning Guidance- First consultation draft                             24

								
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