New Princes Circus space fully open
Camden Council has completed the transformation of Princes Circus – the final section of the West End Project to be opened to the public.
Princes Circus sits at the junction of High Holborn, Shaftesbury Avenue and New Oxford Street and is a key walking and cycling route between Covent Garden and the British Museum in Bloomsbury.
At Princes Circus this innovative project has transformed sections of Bloomsbury Street and Shaftesbury Avenue to create a larger and traffic free public square with improved pedestrian and cycle safety with widened pavements, new pedestrian crossings, and easy walking and cycling routes. There is also new seating and distinctive planting that has transformed this public space, which was previously underused and dominated by an unattractive electricity substation.
Princes Circus now sits perfectly as an improved and inviting pedestrian route between Covent Garden and the British Museum.
The completed reimagining of this location has now transformed this area. Once again, we have changed road space into usable and enjoyable green space for everyone.
There is now distinctive woodland style planting along with plenty of new places to stop, rest and enjoy the space. Later this year we will also be unveiling the original Grade II listed fountain from Princes Circus. This has been conserved and will become an ornamental centre piece of the new public square.”
I would like to thank all my colleagues and partner organisations, along with the many residents, businesses and stakeholders who have helped us shape and improve this vibrant area of Camden for all. My particular thanks go to the Central District Alliance business improvement district who provided £1.5m towards the construction of the space. Their contribution alongside funding from Camden, TfL and other partners have allowed us to create a tranquil space for people in the heart of city.
Debbie Akehurst, Chief Executive of Central District Alliance:
“I am deeply proud of our contribution to the transformative Princes Circus project.
“Our mission at CDA has always been to act as a driving force for economic growth and visibility, creating spaces where ambition meets achievement and innovation fuels our thriving community.
“Princes Circus is a testament to this mission. It has transformed an underutilised space into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly square that not only promotes safety and enjoyment, but also breathes new life into our district. By prioritising pedestrian and cycle safety and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the area, we have created a place that truly reflects the dynamic essence of our district.
"This project is an example of the potential that lies in fostering open dialogue, collaborating with diverse stakeholders, and innovating towards a resilient future. Together with Camden Council and other partners, we are shaping the pulse of our city, turning road spaces into green spaces, and enhancing the prosperity of our region."
Tim South, Project Lead Associate, LDA Design said:
“Removing sections of Shaftesbury Avenue and Bloomsbury Street has transformed Princes Circus from a constrained, polluted, and unloved West End space, hemmed in by fast-moving roads, into a new type of city square that will support residents, visitors, and local businesses, including the neighbouring Shaftesbury Theatre.
“This bow-tie piazza is made up of two linked triangular public spaces featuring distinctive but complementary designs. The mature trees, dappled shade and understorey planting gives the northern area a woodland feel. To the south, the space is open and generously seated, a great new spot to meet before the theatre or to take in the surrounding architecture, such as the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church. A monument originally installed to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 has been restored and will be reinstated. Delivering projects of this nature requires a huge collaborative endeavour, and we have thoroughly enjoyed working with Camden and the wider team.”
NRP, Project Directors, said:
“We are incredibly proud to have been a part of the Princes Circus project, which has again, transformed central London’s urban landscape as part of the wider West End Project scheme. This project is a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration in sculpting cities of the future - greener, safer, and more captivating than ever.”
Councillor Harrison continued:
“It’s amazing to think that the West End Project, the largest transformational scheme ever to take place in the borough is now complete and is already providing a range of tangible benefits for those who live, work and commute through the area.
“We have improved the biodiversity and environment, reduced motor vehicle congestion, as well as attracting more people to enjoy the area and its local businesses, to highlight just a few of the many achievements."
Photos - Credit ‘Mickey LF Lee - On behalf of Central District Alliance
Princes Circus one - Project representatives from Camden Council, Central District Alliance, LDA Design, Idverde, NRP, Project Directors, Transport for London and the Shaftesbury Theatre.
Princes Circus two – (left to right): Rob Edwards (TfL Lead sponsor northwest), Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a sustainable Camden, Abbas Raza (TfL Communities and Partnerships)
Princes Circus three – (left to right): Debbie Akehurst (CEO of Central District Alliance), Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a sustainable Camden, Alexander Jan (Chair of the Central District Alliance)
Princes Circus four to six – Images of the newly open space
The West End Project in facts and figures
Reducing congestion across the area by introducing two-way roads
- Up to a 70% reduction in traffic on Tottenham Court Road during restricted hours.
- Up to a 44% reduction in traffic on Tottenham Court Road out of the restricted hours.
- Up to a 45% reduction in traffic on Gower Street.
Making bus journeys more efficient with bus and cycle only areas
- Bus routes 24, 29, 73 and 390 are all now quicker.
Helping cyclists take advantage of the new cycling facilities
- Around 2.6km of new cycle lanes.
- Percy Street and Stephen Street saw an average of 3133 cycling journeys on a weekday.
- Warren Street Santander Cycle dock saw its highest ever number of loans with 3028 in July 2021.
Not impacting on Emergency Services response times
- London Fire Brigade have not noticed any negative impact, and their attendance times have got 8% quicker from Euston Fire Station.
Improving air quality
- Better now than in 2018.
Attracting more people to enjoy the area and its local businesses
- Tottenham Court Road saw 1million footfall for a week for the first time in Fitzrovia ever in the summer after our works completed in 2019.
- New seating on Tottenham Court Road to relax and pause.
- New wider pavements creating more room to move easily.
Improving biodiversity and the environment
- 59 new trees.
- 3 new public spaces.
- 1 new park.
- 1 new rejuvenated park.
- 4 new pocket parks.
Showing the neighbourhood at its best
- Beautiful York stone paving on Gower/Bloomsbury Street.
- Stunning new granite paving along Tottenham Court Road.
- Award winning new and rejuvenated green and public spaces.
Caring for local heritage. Restoration of the:
- Grade II listed lamp posts.
- Grade II listed war memorial.
- Memorial in Whitfield Garden.
- Fitzrovia Mural.