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Photograph: IRStone-Shutterstock

Alfresco dining is being made permanent in Covent Garden

Good news! Eating outdoors isn’t going anywhere

Written by
Isabelle Aron
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There have been highs and lows when it comes to eating outdoors in the last pandemic (remember when we were all drinking pints in the freezing rain in April?). But one of the big successes has been the temporary measures to allow for more alfresco dining on the city’s streets.

In Covent Garden and St John’s wood, the schemes are now going to be a permanent thing, after a month-long consultation with residents in which more than 80 percent of locals voted to keep them.

Alfresco dining will continue on Henrietta Street, King Street, Maiden Lane and parts of Southampton Street in Covent Garden. The consultation also asked about the Neighbourhood Traffic Management Scheme proposed timed closures on roads in the area.

On St John’s Wood High Street, the current measures – a one-way system and pavement widening – will remain in place.

Westminster City council said it is currently exploring the possibility of introducing long-term outdoor dining schemes in other areas, which includes Soho. The council said the plan for these schemes will ‘only go ahead with the support of residents’. At the moment, the scheme will be in place until 1st October. Find out more about it here.

Sure, the extension of the al fresco dining scheme might not be the best timing given it’s nearly October, but just remember this: you probably ate a ‘substantial meal’ outside in December last year so that you could go to the pub for a pint. And more space to eat and drink in the city can only be a good thing, right?

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