London Planning Summit 2013 – Study Tour 2 – Paddington Waterside & Business Improvement District (BID)

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Undeterred by the rain, a group of delegates led by Chris Peers and Tom Harris from Paddington BID explored the Paddington Waterside Partnership (PWP) and Business Improvement District (BID) areas to examine how 14 individual schemes have been brought together to develop a safer, greener and more attractive Paddington.

The area of Paddington is equivalent to the size of Soho, forms one of the Mayor’s Opportunity Areas and offers a mix of activities and unrivalled rail access, known as a major international transport hub, it is the place people arrive at, when travelling from Heathrow on the Express or Connect services. This is set to improve further with the introduction of Crossrail and extensions and alterations to the London Underground and National Rail station.

The Paddington Waterside Partnership was established in 1995, predicated on the idea of coordination between developers, occupiers, local agencies, the community and the voluntary sector to create long lasting benefits. The 15 year review of the Partnership will be released in November and aims to chart the achievements of the organisation to date and future activities.

The area has been transformed over recent years working with key partners to not only develop a high quality working environment but also a place for socialising, shopping and even now living. This is wrapped around the Basin, to the north is the Westway which both create real physical barriers. The basin is home to some unique architecture including amphitheatres, art works and even the Thomas Heatherwick rolling bridge. The bridges and improved walking environment with signage, aim to overcome this physical divide.

Development is continuing apace and the area will soon be home to the City of Westminster’s tallest building, 1 Merchant Square and further opportunities exist for more developments within the Basin.

The Paddington BID was set up in 2005 and is there as a voice for local businesses, to drive forward initiatives to deliver the PWP objectives of a more attractive safer greener and cleaner Paddington. Recent success stories include work to clean up the environment on Praed Street around highway design and quality, uniform shop frontages, lighting and green initiatives. In addition the BID organises community events in the Basin and provides a dedicated police team to ensure a safe Paddington. Future work includes engagement with communities on Edgware Road and agencies to improve the look and feel of this trading corridor.

Paddington has unique challenges when it comes to boundaries, the BID area and the PWP area differ and the area includes historic amenity society boundaries which cross the Westway. The answer to a submitted Neighbourhood Area application by the Maida Vale and Little Venice Amenity Society was a rival bid by the PWP, BID and Hyde Park Estate Association. This was predicated on the fact that there would be an advisory role for the amenity society on the board. This ensures that the groups are joined up across boundaries for the onward delivery of positive measures for the Paddington Basin and surrounding areas. This joined up nature will ensure that all have a voice, which is a success story of the development within the basin to date.

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