The Future of Mayfair: A 20-year plan for Britain’s most prestigious neighbourhood

“Our overall vision is to make Mayfair the most desirable and attractive area of London in which to live, work and to visit”

After three years of consulting and scoping, Mayfair’s local brass (i.e. The Forum) are now presenting a detailed plan for the future of one of the world’s most high-value and high-profile neighbourhoods, and asking for feedback from stakeholders and the community.

Mayfair’s draft Neighbourhood Plan sets out some bold ambitions from the get-go, proclaiming that “Our overall vision is to make Mayfair the most desirable and attractive area of London in which to live, work and to visit”. For the purposes of the document, the patch of W1 has been divided into different areas, each characterised by slightly different uses, characters and opportunities; one of the big three, “West Mayfair”, is identified as the most residential district:

Plan highlighting the growth areas of Park Lane, Tyburn Retail Frontage, the main retail streets of Regent Street, Piccadilly and Oxford Street and the Character Areas of Mayfair – West Mayfair, Central Mayfair, East Mayfair and Shepherd Market

While the majority of the planning revolves around pimping the public realm and getting the right sort of commercial occupier, there is a full chapter devoted to the residences of Mayfair – and full credit is given to the deep and formative role that resi played in building the entire district. Resi use in West Mayfair is given particular consideration, with a pledge to “ensure that existing residential use in West Mayfair remains recognised, encouraged and protected”.

The big ideas – including transformations for Park Lane and Oxford Street, and a new retail route along the old Tyburn river line – are outlined at the bottom of this article. Or the full plan is available to read here (PDF).

Mayfair in use

FURTHER READING


A message from The Mayfair Guru

Mayfair residents who are the areas ‘Gate Keepers’ for future generations, now have an opportunity to maintain and deliver a vision for the area – they now have a voice

“Put up or shut up” says Peter Wetherell of top Mayfair estate agency Wetherell. “So many people moan about issues but do not do anything about it – this is their opportunity. For so long the business community have moaned about a lack of representation in the area although they pay massive business rates. Residents who are the areas ‘Gate Keepers’ for future generations, now have an opportunity to maintain and deliver a vision for the area – they now have a voice.

“However – The Mayfair Neighbourhood Forum is not about single issue policies – it is about a vision; unfortunately, many people only become involved locally when something directly affects them.  However, I do believe that as many local people should be involved as possible as it provides everyone in the area with a voice on key issues. From tackling and improving air quality  to protection the Mayfair night-time economy, these are issues that affect us all.

“We need everyone to get involved, because Mayfair is their community. For example, there are plans looking at the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street. I like the idea of reducing traffic – especially buses – on the street, but it is complicated. The plans may mean busses have to come into Mayfair and traffic is moved here. I am not for it.

“I have been working on this with both the forum and the Mount Street Association, which I set up.  However , unless people come forward with their views, they will not be in the plan. If you do not sign up to the Forum now you will not have the moral right to complain when things happen that you do not approve of. Democracy should be for those seeking to progress the positives not merely the active and vocal minority single issue protesters – all they do is create an environment where the negative views prevail because the ones that are happy do not express their positive views.”


Foreword to Mayfair’s draft Neighbourhood Plan

The Mayfair Neighbourhood Plan 2018 to 2038 is an extraordinary opportunity to help shape the future development of all of Mayfair and is not to be missed. This is a chance to influence the planning decisions that will be made in the years to come and through that, how the buildings around us, our streetscapes and public spaces will look and work. During this time the impact of Crossrail will be felt, retail formats and approaches will change with the impact of on-line shopping, office requirements will change, residential requirements will change as the population ages and transport improves; and fossil fuel driven vehicles may well disappear altogether.

The Plan is built on the ideas and comments received through a number of consultation events over the past three years.

We hope it reflects your desires and aspirations for Mayfair – please tell us what you like, what you dislike and for you, what is missing. We don’t, of course, start with a blank sheet of paper; we are required to follow existing planning policy and strategy but this provides a boundary to our ideas not handcuffs that prevent our influence.

A full copy of the Plan, including an executive summary is available on The Forum’s website, mayfairforum.org, with further details on the consultation process and how you – as a resident or someone working in the area – can express your views and help to continue the shaping of the plan.

I very much hope you engage with this consultation, and look forward to receiving your views for the future of Mayfair.

Mark Henderson  Chairman, Steering Group Mayfair Neighbourhood Forum


Policy Summary

PUBLIC REALM

  • Transforming Public Realm

Whilst in places the public realm in Mayfair is excellent, we all know that in others it is poor. We feel it is inappropriate for such a celebrated and historic area to suffer like this. We are therefore requiring developers through the planning process to look at improving the quality of Mayfair’s public realm. This includes creating: additional space for pedestrians, attractive, multifunctional, accessible and safe streets, and improved walking routes.

  • Green Spaces

The public green spaces in Mayfair are beautiful, historic and perform an important recreational and restorative function for the area. That function, and the use by the community of those spaces, has come under recent scrutiny, for example with corporate events being held in temporary structures in Berkeley Square. The Forum is therefore proposing policies which: impose a new designation upon Mayfair’s green spaces – akin to green belt; encourage local community use of the spaces; seek the enhancement of green spaces to encourage their use all year round; encourage public realm enhancements in the spaces and highways around green spaces (which are often confusing and hard to navigate); and impose some restrictions on the holding of corporate events in green spaces, including requiring these events to invest back into the green spaces they have used.

  • Greening

The previous years have seen a loss of green infrastructure (such as trees and planters) in and
around the public realm in Mayfair. Developers will be encouraged to deliver enhanced greening within their developments, or to contribute towards the greening of public realm around the development.

DIRECTING GROWTH

  • Growth Areas

One feature of the existing policy landscape (at Westminster and London-wide level) is the need
to deliver sustainable growth to accommodate the accelerating increase in demand for all forms of use. Mayfair is no exception. For instance, Crossrail’s opening is expected to have a dramatic increase in the number of people entering Mayfair from Davies Street and Hanover Square. It is important for the Plan to respond to that change, by positively directing growth where we as a community feel it is appropriate.

Firstly, therefore the Plan encourages sustainable growth in key areas such as in the eastern section of Mayfair, and along Oxford Street. For the purposes of this Plan, growth is conceived as including greater intensity of use, greater density and encouragement for mixed uses (residential, commercial and others) to be developed.

Secondly, the Plan encourages two ‘key-note transformational changes’ to be considered:
(a) Park Lane currently operates as a barrier to Mayfair residents and workers to Hyde Park. The Plan encourages investigation of the opportunity to turn one carriageway into a public space in its own right, whilst also retaining, on the other carriageway, its importance as an arterial route for traffic; and
(b) the delivery during the Plan period of a new retail-led route along the historic line of the Tyburn river, which in places is already functioning well (such as Avery Row) and in others requires imaginative intervention (such as Bruton Lane).

ENHANCING EXPERIENCE

  • Retail

Mayfair contains some of the most important retail streets in the Country. The Plan encourages enhancement and protection for them, by: resisting the loss of retail except in certain circumstances;
encouraging appropriate growth in retail frontages, including of local convenience shopping across Mayfair; improving the public realm in key retail areas; designating special ‘oasis’ areas in the vicinity of retail streets to provide rest and respite; encouraging public toilets within large retail stores; seeking high quality shop frontage designs; and protecting craftsmanship where it supports important Mayfair retail functions, such as IV exist in Cork Street and Saville Row.

  • Residential

There are important residential communities within Mayfair, whose continued flourishing is vital to retaining the balance of the mixed area that the whole community enjoys. We propose that the Plan should go further than existing Westminster policy, by: protecting residential amenity across Mayfair from the negative impacts of new commercial or entertainment uses; recognising and encouraging new development to reflect part of Mayfair’s residential built form and character; protecting uses which support the residential communities such as local convenience shopping; and requiring development
to adopt more stringent construction management guidelines.

  • Commercial

Mayfair has a flourishing business community. This is particularly evident in central and eastern parts of Mayfair, although they are present throughout. The Plan encourages this, and seeks to ensure the proportion of commercial oorspace is protected as part of the balance of uses within Mayfair.

  • Cultural and Community Uses

Part of Mayfair’s fascination for residents, businesses and visitors is its wealth of cultural and community uses. The Plan seeks to go further than existing policy in protecting
the retention of those uses within Mayfair.

  • Shepherd Market

Shepherd Market is a unique area within Mayfair. It deserves its own policies recognising its contribution to the area, and protecting its special character.

  • Servicing and Deliveries

Major new development in Mayfair will have to demonstrate how servicing and deliveries can be better achieved to the benefit of neighbouring occupiers.

BUILDING ON HERITAGE

  • Design

The physical beauty of Mayfair lies predominantly in its built form. The Plan seeks to encourage only the highest quality of design that will respond positively to the character of the area’s existing built form.

  • Environment and Sustainability

Mayfair’s future success requires it to continue to adapt to a more resource efficient model, whilst retaining the beauty of its built environment. Mayfair deserves policies that will ensure new development is high environmental and sustainability standards, in terms of air quality, waste, climate change adaptability, use of sustainable materials, and being zero carbon.


The consultation period runs until Tuesday 1st August 2017; have your say at mayfairforum.org

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