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Issue-2  |  Autumn/Winter-2010

Travel Matters Victoria gets ready for business  P4

Sophie’s Choice Tackling youth crime together  P10

Festive Season Gearing up for Christmas and the New Year  P18

Working together to create a destination of choice for business

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highlights

Contributors Kate Simon, Travel Editor, The Independent on Sunday Kate is a top UK travel journalist, with 25 years experience on national newspapers and magazines. Simone Kane, Freelance travel writer During her 20-year career, Simone has worked for many national consumer titles.

Welcome to inSW1

Chris Kilvington, Freelance writer Chris has written on topics from solar panelling to sheds for a variety of organisations including the NHS, Energy Saving Trust, universities and councils.

Our second edition of inSW1 shows how we are following through on the initial input from the Victoria BID sub-committees by responding to the needs of businesses in the area, delivering on the promises we made at our launch. Those of you who have already signed up to and received our first E-newsletter will find many of the key BID initiatives, such as our green infrastructure audit, our new business forums and the purple flag safety initiative, outlined in much greater detail in this issue. We are also heralding the good news that business travel has taken a modest upturn for the first time in 18 months, since the onset of the economic downturn; surely, a positive sign that the economy is responding to private-sector growth. Business travel by European companies has increased by three per cent on 2009 for the first half of this year. Business class travel has increased within the January to June period by two per cent*. On page 4, Kate Simon, Travel Editor of the Independent on Sunday, considers business travel trends and talks to some of Victoria area’s leading hoteliers, outlining their response to the needs of this competitive sector. There are also some timely suggestions for shoppers, with new prospects in store during the forthcoming seasonal period. Plus great ideas for venues for those Christmas parties. And you'll find usual updates on activities and events to look forward to in SW1 leading up to the Christmas holiday period. Ruth Duston, Chief Executive of Victoria BID

Nina Provençal, Marketing and Events Officer, Victoria BID. Please contact Nina to find out more about the BID at nina.provencal@insw1.com

The Board Mike Noakes (Chairman), Victoria BID Mike has a long association with Victoria, having either worked or travelled through the area for most of his working life. Trained as a Civil Engineer specialising in the planning and development of major transport infrastructure, he is passionate that major gateways such as Victoria should provide positive support and serve the businesses, residents and visitors who use them for commercial, retail and tourist activity. Ruth Duston (Chief Executive), Victoria BID George Lynn, Angel Trains Martin Kelly, Capita Lovejoy Claudia Binkert, EDF Trading Jamie Simons, Experian David Morgan-Hewitt, The Goring Hotel Nigel Hughes, Grosvenor Michael O’Brien, Hesperia London Victoria Gary Merrick, John Lewis Colette O’Shea, Land Securities Andrew Halford, Marks & Spencer Calum Forbes, Microsoft Joelle Bailey, Network Rail Paul Green, Sainsbury’s Murray Rea, Starbucks Andrew Mills, Victoria Palace Theatre Ramesh Costa, Victoria Park Plaza Nic Harper, Wetherspoons

*  According to Theodore Koumelis in an article reproduced on the travel news website Travel Daily News International.com, in a survey based on data from The AirPlus Business Travel Index, an industry analysis of more than 100 million business travel bookings per year made by more than 33,000 companies worldwide. Friday, August 13, 2010.

  new members of the team

OBSERVERS Mike Fairmaner, Westminster City Council John McNutley, TfL Matt Foley, Metropolitan Police Mick Clarke, The Passage

Editorial   © Published by Victoria BID, 8a Lower Belgrave Street, London, SW1W 0LJ Telephone 020 3004 0786  Fax 020 7730 0311 Editor-in-Chief: Ruth Duston Editor: Paul Vater paul.vater@insw1.com Design and print: www.sugarfreedesign.co.uk Advertising: Paul Barratt at Sugarfree 020 7619 7430 Photography: Dominick Tyler, Richard Lewisohn and Paul Barratt. Cover image: Sophie Chin, PCSO working out of Belgravia Police Station © Dominick Tyler The opinions expressed in magazine are not necessarily those of the Victoria BID. All rights reserved and reproduction without written permission from Victoria BID is strictly prohibited. Although every care is taken of manuscripts, photographs and artwork submitted, neither Sugarfree nor Victoria BID can be held responsible for any loss or damage, SERI AL CB P00 05 03 00 41044 5 however caused.

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John Hodgkiss

Simon Reason

John began working in regeneration in 2004, on three of London’s first Business Improvement Districts: Hainault Business Park, Leytonstone Town Centre, and Argall Avenue in Waltham Forest. He then moved to the West Midlands to take up the position of Town Centre Manager for Walsall, which he held for three years.

Simon has been a police officer for nearly 14 years, a sergeant for nine. He has also served two years as a magistrate. In his last role before joining the BID, he ran a residential Safer Neighbourhood Team in Belgravia and is proud of the fact that his team made Tachbrook the Westminster ward with the lowest crime rate.

Economic Development Manager john.hodgkiss@insw1.com

Business Crime Reduction Officer simon.reason@insw1.com

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NEW BEGINNINGS

Travel Matters: Victoria Gets Ready for Business What makes a good base for the business traveller? Kate Simon lists fast transport links, a comfortable spot to lay your head, and great places to eat and drink. Add top shopping and world-class sightseeing and entertainment and you must be in Victoria.

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ore than 71 million people make journeys through Victoria’s railway station each year, including five million passengers using the Gatwick Express. A further 10 million annually go through its coach station, travelling from 1,200 UK and 400 European destinations. Many of these travellers are coming to the capital on business, presenting Victoria with an urgent challenge to persuade the corporate community of the advantages of using the area as a base as well as a gateway to the rest of the city. It’s this whole offering that the Victoria BID is dedicated to developing and promoting. Despite the tough economic times and the advances in communication technology, business travel is still an essential element

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Victoria is an ideal place for many companies to be based. Add to this the shops, restaurants and bars and the area becomes highly desirable.

of the corporate world, domestically and internationally. The movements of domestic business travellers are not currently surveyed, but the number of international corporate travellers passing through UK

borders is revealing. The latest International Passenger Survey from the Office of National Statistics shows that their numbers continued on a downward trend, year on year, to 6.6 million in 2009. However, this August, the ONS reported a slight rally for the second quarter of 2010. And despite the overall number of overseas business visitors to the UK remaining lower, the ONS says spend per head has remained steady. While many of the business travellers arriving in Victoria pass straight through the area, just steps from its transport hubs all the necessary elements are in place to turn a job of work into a pleasure – and they’re tried and tested daily by the resident working community, which includes several major businesses, such as Google, the Telegraph Media Group and Transport for London. A short walk along Victoria’s high street reveals a mixture of businesses to meet every need, from a packet of paracetamol to a new suit for that important meeting. The boutiques of Pimlico and Belgravia provide the perfect hunting ground for gifts to return home with. And when the day’s work is done you can take in top sights from the Houses of Parliament to Buckingham Palace; award-winning shows at two major theatres; the sedate pleasure of classical recitals at St John’s Smith Square; and even a chance to really let your hair down at the internationally renowned nightclub Pacha. But corporate travellers need more from a location than a choice of diversions for their precious downtime. Good places to stay and meet, eat and drink are vital components for any business trip. And the signs are that Victoria’s hospitality industry is keen to meet the changing demands of business visitors, creating an enviable profile for the area with this key market.

Published by the Victoria Business Improvement District


One of Victoria’s most important offerings for the business traveller is its range of accommodation across the price points, catering for short- and long-term stays, from family-run B&Bs to serviced apartments and five-star hotels. But variety is not all Victoria has to offer, its accommodation providers also understand the need for a tailored and responsive service to meet the very specific requirements of the corporate customer. Riddian Davies, General Manager of The Grosvenor Hotel, says: “We understand that business travellers need comfort and flexibility. So, a comfortable bed and surroundings, somewhere light to work within the room, WiFi internet access, fantastic showering facilities and all parts of the hotel service delivered efficiently and professionally.” As well as paying close attention to the detail of the guest’s experience, Davies points to the services that the 357-room hotel, which has a prime location by the railway station, lays on for its business clientele. “The Grosvenor offers a dedicated corporate traveller check-in for ease and speed, a hightech gym, and our ‘Express Breakfast’ option – a separate breakfast for corporate travellers who require a quality, continental breakfast they can enjoy in a quick time.” Dolphin House has similar priorities for business guests staying at its serviced apartments. Around 14,500 corporate travellers stay in the 148 studio and oneto three-bedroom units each year, most from within the UK, with around 20 per cent from overseas, predominantly the US. Neil Miller-Chalk, General Manager, reports that the business market is thriving, but notes an interesting change in how the business is driving this market. “The number of corporate stays has increased quite significantly,” he says. “What we have noticed, though, is that we have had to go and get many more accounts with less business, whereas previously we would have concentrated on fewer accounts, but higher-volume ones. This may sound like a contradiction, but it is because the business is still there but [clients] have tried to renegotiate the rates down. So I am consciously not taking some of the business because the rates are too low. At this moment in time, I can be choosy.” Establishments such as The Grosvenor Hotel and Dolphin House also offer guests in-house conference facilities. Not all business people coming into Victoria are here to visit colleagues, sister businesses or specific clients based in the vicinity. This demand is also met by several specialist venues in the area offering temporary

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Top: Conference facilities at leading hotels in Victoria provide everything the modern business guest requires. Above: Business travellers increasingly look for leisure options such as this gym at the Dolphin Square complex in Pimlico. Opposite page: Arriving at Victoria station. There are a multitude of coffee stops and cafés where you can catch up with colleagues – like this one, Patisserie Valerie, in Warwick Way.

office space for hire with full support staff, including Citibase, Regus, MWB Business Exchange and the Abbey Business Centre. Regus Victoria provides its signature office-space solutions, including a gym, across six floors in Portland House in Bressenden Place. According to Celia Donne, Regional Director, Regus is seeing high demand in the area. “With good transport links by both bus and train, Victoria is an ideal place for many companies to be based. Add to this the shops, restaurants and bars and the area becomes highly desirable. However, a great location won’t work if you don’t have the quality space to back it up. With Grade A office space, we are confident that Victoria will always be a thriving centre.” So what about that all-important business breakfast, lunch or drink? Victoria is filled with venues to satisfy all tastes, and has a wealth of experience of meeting the needs of business people due to the large local working population. From fast food outlets to gourmet restaurants, pubs to

trendy bars, there are familiar high-street names, such as Nando’s and Zizzi, and longestablished standard-setters, including the Ebury Wine Bar and Restaurant in Belgravia, which first opened for business in 1959. The current proprietor, Nigel Windridge, has jointly run this favourite dining spot since 1973. During his tenure, he’s seen a wholesale change in the habits of his business clientele. “When we first started, customers would come in at 11.30 in the morning and start with some Champagne, then have lunch, followed by cigars, and they wouldn’t leave until 5.30pm,” he says. Today, he confirms, time is of the essence for most business people, a challenge that Ebury has met by providing an extensive bar menu, which Windridge says is very popular with the lunchtime crowd. Cubitt House, which runs The Thomas Cubitt and The Pantechnicon gastropubs, on Elizabeth and Motcomb Streets respectively, believes “excellent service” is the secret to its success for keeping business customers coming back for more and gaining their leisure custom, too. “Many guests visit regularly when carrying out business locally, both for pleasure and to arrange meetings,” says a spokesperson. Although most clients currently come from within the UK, the group recognises the importance of building a strong international profile and is actively promoting its businesses in Russia, the US and Australia, as well as various European countries. While getting the style of hospitality right is the route to winning a loyal customer base, Malcolm Hendry of The Rubens and 41 hotels believes that it is impossible to underplay the importance of Victoria’s location for the area’s future prosperity. “Anyone visiting the area on business will be astounded at just how close and convenient Victoria is. We need to focus on ease of movement for all travellers in the area and continually improve their travel and business experience, gaining a reputation as an easy and stress-free place to stay in the capital.” Hendry believes that Victoria, with the help of the BID initiative, is ready to capitalise on its prosperous relationship with business travellers. “We are in a strong position to become London’s business destination of choice,” he concludes. For more information about places to do business in the Victoria area please visit our website.

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HEARTS AND MINDS

Fun in SW1

Curtain up on Theatreland The influence of two famous theatres on the local economy is crucial to the wider area. Simone Kane finds out how the success of their award-winning productions benefits local hotels, restaurants and bars.

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hether you’re a visitor or a commuter to SW1, as you leave Victoria Station you can’t miss the imposing Apollo Victoria Theatre, which occupies an entire block of Wilton Road. Opened as an art deco super cinema in 1930, today it is best known as home to the hit musical “Wicked” – the untold story of the witches of Oz – collector of 35 major awards. Since transferring from Broadway in 2006 the show has been a huge success, taking a record-breaking £100,000 in the first hour of booking and grossing more than £100 million to date. Eight packed performances per week at the 2,292-capacity theatre – one of the largest in London – mean it has attracted almost one million visitors to Victoria every year. And many of these theatre-lovers choose to stay and dine nearby, providing a significant boost to local business. The opulent art deco surroundings of the New Victoria theatre, as it was then known, made a popular venue for film screenings, variety shows and big band performances. It dodged war damage and a planned demolition, surviving until 1975. After extensive renovations, it reopened in 1981 as the Apollo Victoria Theatre, hosting concerts from superstars including Shirley Maclaine, Johnny Mathis, Liza Minnelli and Sir Cliff Richard. In the 1980s the focus shifted to musicals – “The Sound of Music”, starring Petula Clark, was a huge hit. The theatre’s most

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famous collaborator has been Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, who chose it for his smash-hit show, “Starlight Express” – which enjoyed an 18-year run and was directly followed by his next production, “Bombay Dreams”. But the Apollo isn’t the only bighitting theatre in the area. There’s been an entertainment venue on the site of the Victoria Palace Theatre, on Victoria Street, since 1832. Moy’s Music Hall was knocked down with the arrival of the railways and Victoria station in 1886. It was then rebuilt, only for the capital’s oldest licensed music hall to be demolished again, when 20th-century technological advances required drastic changes. The Victoria Palace Theatre as we know it today was built in 1910 and – like the Apollo – still retains many period features. Under impresario Alfred Butt, the Victoria Palace opened with a variety bill, later expanding into plays and musicals. Its most successful run – and it still is to date – was when the “Crazy Gang” took to the stage in 1947, and set up residence for 15 years. “The Black and White Minstrel Show” dominated the next decade, followed by Max Bygraves’ “Swingalongamax”, the London production of “Annie”, “Buddy”, “Jolson” and “Kiss Me, Kate”. But the Victoria Palace Theatre’s most successful show in modern times is the current production of “Billy Elliot”. The story of a boy from a mining community who battles the odds to become a dancer,

Published by the Victoria Business Improvement District


Left: An audience for Billy Elliot waits in anticipation for the start of another great show. Previous page: Each theatre is a major landmark for visitors because they are the first things people see on emerging from the underground or mainline station.

it opened to great acclaim in March 2005, and the combination of Sir Elton John’s songwriting and Peter Darling’s choreography has picked up every Best Musical award going. Currently booking into 2011, there’s no sign of its popularity waning. “I can’t see any reason for this run to end,” says Andrew Mills, General Manager at the Victoria Palace Theatre for 15 years. “The two theatres, and the success of these shows, bring a huge amount of income into the area. And because of the kind of relationship we have with local businesses, I know they value the custom that comes via us.” In a Society of London Theatre audience survey from 2008, which breaks down theatregoer spending outside ticket costs, 69 per cent of participants said they ate out as part of their visit, while 22 per cent spent money on overnight accommodation. During 2009, the Victoria Palace Theatre welcomed some 518,000 patrons. Based on Society of London Theatre’s figures, and combined with the audience figures for the Apollo, this translates to a potential annual theatregoer spend of millions in restaurants and hotels in the Victoria area. “Theatregoers don’t want to travel far to a restaurant or hotel before or after a

The two theatres, and the success of these shows, bring a huge amount of income into the Victoria area. show,” says Mills. “So most of this money must go back into the local economy…When our box office is asked for suggestions on where to stay or eat,” says Mills, “we offer recommendations on tried-and-tested local venues, according to their budgets. So we might also suggest the B Bar, L’Arco, Dim T, Chez Gerrard and all the well-known chains, as affordable options. We know our visitors often opt for The Rubens, the Victoria Park Plaza or The Goring because I have regular contact with the business community. I always have had, but the Victoria BID will be an important development in that sense.” Ben Phillips, General Manager at the Apollo for the past two years, concurs. “We get hundreds of calls a week asking for recommendations,” he says. “The Rubens is the official partner of ‘Wicked’, so we send people there. But we make our suggestions

to fit what people want to spend. So we have referred visitors to the new Premier Inn, as well as the Victoria Park Plaza.” Malcolm Hendry, General Manager at The Rubens hotel, can directly trace about £4,000 per week in income into his restaurant and bar. “Each week we look after 70-120 pre-theatre diners in our Old Masters Restaurant, as well as 10-20 recommended walk-ins from the theatre box offices for lighter meals in our lounge. Then there are probably 20-30 people who have post-show drinks and another 10-15 who take afternoon tea.” “We like to know we’re sending our patrons somewhere decent,” says Mills, “so all our box office staff have at some time experienced the hospitality of The Rubens restaurant or bar, for example. This enables them to make a recommendation – or not – based on their experience. But there’s no company line. And in the advertising spaces on our tickets and ticket envelopes, we carefully select who we promote.” Apart from direct meal deals and recommendations, Mills thinks there’s obvious evidence of the business the theatres bring in. “Between us, we are filling more than 3,700 seats a night, seven days a week. Walk into Chez Gerrard any evening from 6pm-7pm and it’s packed with pretheatre diners and drinkers.” Much of this business comes via ticket and meal deals through lastminute.com and Encore, and other reputable ticket agencies. While some, such as the Victoria Palace Theatre’s tie-ups with The Goring, are set up direct by the theatre. External marketing companies, such as AKA, also organise offers on behalf of “Billy Elliot’s” producers. “With all the improvement work that’s going on,” says Mills, “Victoria’s a much more pleasant area.” As for “Wicked”, with the long runs set to continue, it seems Victoria is definitely on the up.

For more information about places to visit in the Victoria area, including Pimlico and Belgravia, please visit our website.

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IN FOCUS

Apollo Day A date for your diary – 10 October marks the 80th birthday of the Apollo Victoria Theatre, wich will be celebrated with two very special events as Kate Simon reports.

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heck out two fun events being laid on to celebrate the Apollo Victoria Theatres 80th: from 11am to 5pm, there's a special exhibition and guided tours, and in the evening a gala performance. The free exhibition, on display in the theatre foyer, will reveal the history of this venerable central London theatre, including its earlier role as a cinema. “Exhibits will include photography and movie clips,” says Adam Caddy, Theatre Manager. “There will also be costumes and props from previous shows, including ‘Starlight Express’, ‘Bombay Dreams’ and, of course, ‘Wicked’.” Many of the exhibits will be on loan from the Victoria & Albert Museum. To venture further into the theatre and find out more about its history and

architecture, join one of the free guided tours of front of house that will run every 45 minutes. These will be hosted by members of the theatre team and, from 12pm-4pm, guest guide Richard Gray from the Cinema Association will also be on hand to give an expert appreciation of the venue. “In the evening there will be a special performance – ‘Apollo Victoria’s 80th Birthday Gala’ – with members of the cast of 'Wicked' and other shows,” confirms Caddy. “It will be a review of the past 80 years, remembering not just the theatre productions but also some of the live concerts that have taken place here. Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Diana Ross and the Supremes have all performed here – Shirley Bassey relaunched the theatre in the 1980s with a week of concerts.”

Prices for the gala performance will range from £15 to £60, with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK – the theatre hopes to raise around £40,000 for the charity. Tickets for the show are now available at the box office, from Ticketmaster on 0844 847 2288, and at www.ambassadortickets.com.

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Sophie’s Choice

PCSO Sophie Chin on her regular beat along Buckingham Palace Road.


Interview

Sophie Chin is a Police Community Support Officer whose passion and commitment to youth safety has taken her to new levels in her career. Propelled by a newfound confidence, this modest PCSO is receiving a coveted Jane’s Police Review Award for community policing. She talks to the BID’s Nina Provençal about her achievements, so far.

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efore qualifying to be a PCSO, Sophie was a primary school teaching assistant. While working in schools and youth groups her interest in the lives of young people and the community found a new outlet. In search of a more challenging role, Sophie realised she had acquired many of the skills she needed to join the Metropolitan Police. To her delight, she was accepted and she has been stationed as a PCSO at Belgravia Police Station since 2007. Sophie has worked with the Victoria Business Safer Neighbourhood Team since 2008. Four months into her new job as a PCSO, Sophie's family life took an unfortunate turn. Her daughter, who was 13 at the time, became the victim of an unprovoked attack by a group of young girls. The girls were from Sophie's daughter’s school. Although her daughter was not seriously injured, the emotional scars ran deep as the family struggled to come to terms with what had happened. The assault was recorded on a mobile phone by one of the offenders and posted on YouTube. The clip was later used in court as evidence against the girls and contributed to a conviction. It was this painful personal experience that led Sophie to be more determined to address the complex issues of youth crime. “There’s so much of it going on today, and it’s not about blaming the parents or the school, communities need to help deal with the issues and topics in society, and I wanted to be a part of that.” Being a PCSO, Sophie was equipped with the right skills to work with young people and driven by her experience in youth groups, she held Anti-Knife-Crime Initiative workshops in secondary schools throughout Westminster.

It’s really great to get the recognition for the hard work, I’m chuffed and proud of myself… Even though I’m a PCSO, I have proven that I can still do something big Following on from this, Sophie took part in the “Chill” workshops – known as Swap a Knife for a Life among her colleagues at the Metropolitan Police – which were designed to highlight the dangers and devastating after-effects that carrying a knife can have on a young life. It was during this period that Sophie had the idea of providing young people with panic alarms, or Life Alarms, to help deter knife carrying. She devised a competition for schools where the winning design would be applied to personal panic alarms to be distributed among pupils attending Westminster schools. The winning pupil’s school, Westminster City School, received sports vouchers and £1,000 from the Metropolitan Police for the school’s Art or Sports Department. In 2009, Sophie saw a play by Only Connect, a theatre production company working with reformed offenders. She met the cast and approached them in the hope that they would take part in her workshops. This gave the events a new-found credibility as the former offenders spoke of their personal experiences. They devised role-playing exercises, acting out different scenarios that brought home the reality of

each situation and, most importantly of all, they showed how to avoid or resolve a situation without violence or the use of a weapon. There is no question that Sophie has achieved a great deal in a relatively short time with the support of her team, and in 2010 she was nominated and won the regional Jane’s Police Review PCSO of the Year Award, which recognises excellence in community policing throughout the Metropolitan Police. Sophie is now waiting to see if she wins the national award, to be revealed later this autumn. “It’s really great to get the recognition for the hard work, I’m chuffed and proud of myself… Even though I’m a PCSO, I have proven that I can still do something big.” Although justly proud of what she has done, Sophie is modest about her achievements and there remains a residual shyness about her. Since she has been speaking at police conferences and presenting her experience to her peers, her confidence has grown beyond expectation. Now Sophie has her sights set on becoming a Police Constable and hopes to continue her work with young people and helping to ensure their safety on the street. Sophie is a dedicated and truly inspiring woman. All of us at the Victoria BID congratulate her for her work so far and hope she wins the national award. To find out more about how the police are working with young people and crime, visit www.met.police.uk/youngpeople For more information about the Jane’s Police Review Gala Award 2010, visit www.janes.com/events/awards/ policereview/index.html

For more information about the new intiaitives being planned by the BID in making Victoria a safer place to work and visit, please go to our website.

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IN FOCUS

The Royal Mews Paul Barratt takes a glimpse behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace, and marvels at the variety of vehicles used by the Royal Family to get from A to B.

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he Royal Family uses an extraordinary array of vehicles, from fine horsedrawn carriages to some unique handbuilt motorcars, while going about their ceremonial duties. The Royal Mews accommodates and organises the Royal Household’s transport requirements, whether on four wheels or four legs. If you have ever watched a Coronation, a State Visit, a Royal Wedding or the State Opening of Parliament on television, the chances are that the journey began and ended at the Royal Mews. Being the unseen arrival and departure point for many moments in British history, the Royal Mews affords visitors the rare opportunity of a few hours of fascinating insight into the activities that help keep the British Royal Family on the move. Situated neatly behind Buckingham Palace, staff based at the Mews are instrumental in the smooth behind-the-scenes operation of the Palace for a couple of centuries. George III first established his stables here in 1761, when he bought the original house from the Duke of Buckingham. Its elegant form is down to one of England’s greatest architects, John Nash, who rebuilt the stables when he redesigned the house to George IV’s requirements after he became monarch in 1820.

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For those more interested in equine matters, the stables will be the main attraction. The horses can be seen by visitors on most days of the week... In 1825 Nash completed the Mews quadrangle, built around a pre-existing riding school, and added the Doric arch at its entrance. He designed the Main Coach Houses as well as the State Stables, with accommodation for 100 horses. Each monarch has added to and altered the Mews since then, to suit, over successive decades. This included the addition of a school by Queen Victoria and accommodation for a cow, installed by Prince Albert. Among the vehicles, coaches, carriages and horses housed here, is the Gold State Coach. This magnificent gilded carriage is rarely used now. It is almost 250 years old and quite fragile, however it is a wonderful centrepiece on state occasions, such as the Jubilee celebrations. Built in the London workshops of Samuel Butler in 1762 and

drawn by eight horses, it weighs in at four tons and is heavily gilded with painted panels by Giovanni Cipriani. The coach most often used by The Queen for the State Opening of Parliament is a sleeker affair with a smart blue and black exterior, embellished by fine gilt decoration. This elegant craft, the Irish State Coach and the many other coaches and carriages on display here have been presented to the Royal Family during the past 175 years. For those more interested in equine matters, the stables will be the main attraction. The horses can be seen by visitors most days of the week, but they are kept pretty busy. Occasionally, they are out and about taking part in a ceremony or enjoying a break. The Royal Mews provides a wonderful antidote to the mediated viewpoint usually reserved for visitors who want to know more about the workings of the Monarchy. Walking around them, the level of dedication and expertise required to keep the British Royal Family rolling on formal occasions, as well as in their day-to-day activities, is striking. To make the Mews part of your great day out in SW1 go to the Royal Collection website. You can enjoy free re-admission for a year by buying your ticket direct from: www.royalcollection.org.uk

Published by the Victoria Business Improvement District


This page, clockwise from top: A horse and carriage prepares for the off in the main courtyard; the Gold State Coach, and the main entrance of the Royal Mews. Images © Royal Collection Opposite page: Livery including Full State Postilion Jackets, Head Coachman’s and Coachmen’s hats. Images Royal Collection© and David Cripps

For more information about places to visit in the Victoria area, including Pimlico and Belgravia, please visit our website.

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RE-DISCOVERING SW1

Elizabeth Street Belgravia The landscaping of the network of roads encompassing Ebury Street, Elizabeth Street and Chester Row has been protracted. But one trader tells Kate Simon why the end result will be worth the wait.

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Above: Tom Assheton, owner of Tomtom. Other retailers include Jeroboams, Baker & Spice and Sebastian D'Orsai.

itting at a table outside Tomtom coffee house on Elizabeth Street in Belgravia, it’s hard to believe that this pretty shopping parade, with its charming Georgian buildings, is a few strides from one of the capital’s busiest transport hubs, Victoria Coach Station. For here, just a little way along the road, the atmosphere is more village than city. Yet, since January, this peaceful enclave has resounded to pneumatic drills as part of a £10 million programme of improvements across Mayfair and Belgravia by Westminster City Council and Grosvenor, a long-standing property owner in the area. Signage has been pared back, lighting improved, pavements extended, parking redesigned, and the old road surface torn up and replaced with an aesthetically pleasing arrangement of bricks and granite setts that will also calm traffic and enhance pedestrian safety. The work is due to be completed by the end of September. The recent works have had an impact on takings locally and caused at least one shop to relocate temporarily until the street returned to normal. But the traders can now look forward to reaping the benefits of the changes. Tom Assheton, owner of the Tomtom coffee house and a neighbouring cigar shop, believes the distinct character of the place will be enhanced by this gentrification

project. “When I came here in 1997 there was an electrician and a greengrocer among the shops. Now it has been reinvented as a speciality street,” he says. “There are still some essential shops, though there are a lot more boutiques. It has always been a rather lovely street, but the road looked hideous,” he says. Assheton is confident that the improvements will bring even more visitors and business people to mix with the locals in the boutiques, restaurants and cafes, which include traders as diverse as the traditional pharmacy Walden Chymist and Mungo & Maud dog and cat outfitters. And Elizabeth Street can expect help from Grosvenor to get business thriving once more. The landlord plans to participate in the London Restaurant Festival, from 4-18 October, and hold special Christmas events. This pretty Belgravia street, with its top-quality retail offering and engaging local atmosphere, is back on the map.

For more information about places to visit in the Victoria area, including Pimlico and Belgravia, please visit our website.

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Published by the Victoria Business Improvement District


MAP

Elizabeth Street

Dentist in Victoria

Les Senteurs Philip Treacy Walden Chymist

10 minutes walk from Victoria or Sloane Square Underground Stations

OA D GE R A L D R

Tomtom Cigars De Vroomen Elizabeth Street Veterinary Practice Kim Poor Hawick

Baker & Spice Jeroboams C H E ST E R

The

Thomas Cubitt

ebu ry street

il CONVIVIO

Ebury Square Gardens

Victoria Coach Station

Street

BELGRAVIA

WS E BU RY M E

Allegra Hicks Donna Ida Erickson Beamon Jenny Packham

E lizabeth

Talisman

Grosvenor Stationery Co. Woodhams Papillon Peggy Porschen Cakes

SQUA R E

Poilâne

Oliveto

ORANGE SQUARE PIMLICO FARMERS MARKET

square

HR Stokes

E lizabeth

Mungo & Maud

Street

ch ester

Turning left from Victoria Station across Buckingham Palace Road and up the length of the station toward the Victoria Coach Station. Hang a right into Elizabeth Street and the street plan changes, as does the mood, into this well-heeled and relaxed neighbourhood.

Tomtom Coffee House

BELGRAVIA B&B

ebu ry street

LIMETREE

Ebury Wine Bar & Restaurant

TRAVELLERS TAVERN

BELGRAVIA POLICE STATION Buckingh

Road am Pa l ace

THE COLONNADES VICTORIA PLACE SHOPPING CENTRE

www.inSW1.com

15


METROPOLITAN LIFE

The Crimebusters' Charter The Safe and Secure steering group of the Victoria BID is creating a partnership to help deliver effective protection for members.

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ictoria BID covers the retail centre of Victoria in central London with its impressive collection of theatres, major tourist destinations, as well as hotels, restaurants and pubs. Late-night shopping at House of Fraser as well as Cardinal Place shopping centre, along with other retail outlets in and around SW1 require sensitive yet effective policing. Of particular concern to members of the BID are the areas around Victoria railway and coach stations, as well as Victoria underground station. The transport hub immediately around Victoria is undergoing a multi-million pound upgrade to increase capacity in anticipation of the increased footfall expected through the activities of the BID and its members. The Steering group has identified some problems associated with the sheer number

16

of people arriving and departing each day, as well as common problems associated with a large metropolitan community. Working closely with both the British Transport Police (BTP) and Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), as well as the coach station operators, the BID aims to bring about closer integration through a structured and accredited partnership. With all the improvements taking place in the area we want to ensure that businesses and their customers – visitors and residents alike – have a pleasant time in Victoria and want to return again and again. We will achieve this through a variety of initiatives: 1. R adio Links: Introducing a radio link system that will allow members to speak directly with each other and the Police, create a two-way intelligence-sharing

system led by a Crime Manager (Simon Reason), which will identify hot-spot locations and problem individuals and allow us to act in real time to prevent problems growing. 2. Facial recognition CCTV is being piloted in our area, which will help to identify known offenders quickly and also discourage people from committing offences because there will be a significantly increased chance of being caught with this system in place. 3. A Diverted Giving Scheme: Aimed at reducing begging, the idea of this scheme is to place collecting bins at designated spots in the BID area which will raise money for a local charity combating homelessness – The Passage. 4. A Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) will provide training and

Published by the Victoria Business Improvement District


Opposite page: Providing information to the general public is a key part of the daily activities of a PCSO on the beat in Victoria. Simon Reason, the BID's Business Crime Prevention Officer in conversation with a PCSO at Victoria Station. Below left: Officers on the beat in Cardinal Place.

enforcement powers for up to 20 staff in and around Cardinal Place. The scheme is a system that allows organisations that are involved in community safety (and their employees) to be accredited by the police. It grants “Accredited Persons” limited powers, for example requiring the name and address of a person acting in an antisocial manner or issuing fixed penalty notices for littering, which are aimed at providing a better quality of life in the community. It also helps co-ordinate some activities such as visible patrols and the sharing of information.

All of these measures will help to make the BID area one which is safe and pleasurable to work and socialise in. www.inSW1.com

All of these measures will help to make the BID area one which is safe and pleasurable to work and socialise in. Together, they will set us on the right track to achieve the coveted Purple Flag accreditation for our eveningtime economy. Purple Flag is run by the Association of Town Centre Managers. Action Against Business Crime run two award schemes which we will run alongside the Purple Flag initiative: • Safer Business Award – The Safer Business Award is the nationally assessed standard by which partnerships can be objectively judged to ensure that their work is being carried out legally under

the Data Protection Act, 1998, and that partnership management standards and professionalism are raised. • Safer Socialising – To help the evening economy make a positive contribution to community safety through improved standards of management of licensed premises, The Association of Business Crime Partnerships has developed the Safer Socialising Award as a good practice programme for business crime reduction partnerships (BCRPs), working to reduce the impact of alcohol-related crime and disorder. The award embraces not just pubs and clubs but hotels, restaurants, take-away and off-sales premises, so it offers potential for an integrated partnership approach to alcohol-related community safety issues.

For more information about the new intiaitives being planned by the BID in making Victoria a safer place to work and visit, please go to our website.

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STREETS AHEAD

What's in Store in SW1? With top-notch high-street and independent shopping around every corner, CHRIS KILVINGTON urges us to take a twirl around the streets of Victoria.

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t might be getting a little fresher out there, but exploring the Victoria district on foot is the way to find the real treats these diverse shopping streets have to offer. In central Victoria, iconic British fashion label Biba makes its big comeback this autumn. New collections from the brand that defined the look of the 1960s and 1970s have been available exclusively at House of Fraser (houseoffraser.co.uk) from 9 September, and the Victoria Street branch is one of 10 national stores launching dedicated Biba boutiques (mybiba.com). To celebrate, the store is running Beauty Confidential until 23 September, a 1960s-inspired event offering complimentary beauty treatments, food, drink and live music. Across Victoria Street, Cardinal Place (cardinalplace.co.uk) is the venue for an international food market on 22 September, hosted by John Shepherd of Partridges food store on Sloane Street – John was a former President of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, an organisation recognising individuals or companies that have supplied goods or services to The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales. Elsewhere in and around Victoria mainline station, there’s Victoria Place Shopping Centre (victoriaplaceshopping.com) and The Colonnades. South from here, Pimlico is a true mash-up of retail experiences. Vintage

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shoppers give traditional men’s shop Le Monde an impressive five out of five rating on a review website. Gracing the south end of Wilton Road, it’s a proper world of the gent, stocking clothes and accessories from hats to walking canes. One reviewer mentions 1970s children’s book character Mr Benn, so you might even be lucky enough to get a fantasy adventure thrown in with your purchase. Over on Warwick Way, The Crusaid Shop (crusaid.org.uk) on Churton Street is an SW1 charity outlet that comes endorsed by none other than “queen of shops” Mary Portas. Lit with fairy lights and an antique chandelier, the store accepts regular donations from local designers and catwalk brands. “In here, you know you might just find something incredible,” Mary told Time Out magazine. Further into Pimlico, on Moreton Street, Appuru (www.appuru.co.uk) is a great family-owned shop selling natural and organic skincare brands, and Tachbrook Street Market runs every day except Sunday. Only a short way down Buckingham Palace Road from Victoria mainline station is the specialist haven of Elizabeth Street, Belgravia. As well as lip-smacking food retailers, the street is home to fashion forerunners such as milliner Philip Treacy (philiptreacy.co.uk), cashmere specialist Lucien Pellat Finet (lucienpellat-finet.com) and “the queen of the red carpet gown” Jenny Packham (jennypackham.com). Even dogs

Published by the Victoria Business Improvement District


Exploring the Victoria district on foot is the way to find the real treats these diverse shopping streets have to offer. and cats can join the parade at Mungo and Maud (mungoandmaud.com). For more on Elizabeth Street, turn to page 14. A little further afield, beyond Belgrave Square, tucked away between Knightsbridge and Sloane Street, is the lovely cobbled patch of Motcomb Street. Over the past few years, handfuls of specialist shops have opened here and in the surrounding mews and courtyards, edgy fashion mixes in Michelinstarred gastro company. The area has also become beauty zone central. Glow Urban Spa (glowurbanspa. co.uk) won the Best UK Day Spa Award at the 2010 Condé Nast Traveller Reader Awards. Other residents include French perfumer Annick Goutal’s first London store (annickgoutal.com) and celebrity hairdresser

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Errol Douglas Studio (erroldouglas.com). Motcomb Street throws a charity party on the cobbles every year, so perhaps you could pop 6 July 2011 into your new diary. When you wander around Belgravia, take a moment to imagine how things looked in the early 1800s, when this was swampland, pasture, orchards and even a regular patch for prowling highwaymen. Things have changed pretty drastically over the past 200 years, but don't be fooled into thinking these pavements only offer designer clothes and designer meals nowadays. On Ebury Street, you’ll find The British Red Cross Charity Shop (redcross.org.uk) – another recommended store and one of Time Out’s “Best in London”. Contemporary and vintage design emporium Talisman

From fashionable boutiques to high street favourites through to quirky neighbourhood gems - you will find it all here in Victoria. Clockwise from top left: Annick Goutal opened her first London store on Motcomb Street; Mr Mond of Le Monde gentlemen's outfitters on Wilton Road, Pimlico, supplied all the bowler hats which form part of the distinctive uniform of Victoria BID's Street Ambassadors; Jones Bootmaker and Top Shop are some of the high-street brands that welcome shoppers to Cardinal Place, Victoria; Jewellery specialists Erickson Beamon on Elizabeth Street stock items from accessory designers from around the world.

19


STREETS AHEAD

Top: Christmas preparations in the past few years have ranged from the lighting of Elizabeth Street, complete with vertigo-defying unicyclists; and Santa Claus makes an appearance throughout the area, here seen at Daylesford Organics Garden Shop on Orange Square. Top right: Victoria Place shopping Centre is home to many branded goods, from clothing to jewellery, perfumes and confectionery. There is always a stocking filler here for the bargain hunter. Opposite: Anthony Smith on the shop floor of House of Fraser.

(talismanlondon.com) opens on the street in September. And, at the southern end of the stretch, Semmalina is a wonderland of young clothes, nostalgic toys, old-fashioned sweets and irresistible childhood kitsch. Semmalina’s newer venture, Star Bags (starbags.info), creates handmade party bags for birthdays and any other celebration. Owner Sarah Standing says the shop window changes like a theatre set, so we expect some autumn colours, and snow and baubles in the coming months. Just around the corner, Pimlico Road is a stylish and sometimes eccentric area for design, art, antiques, interiors and food. If you fancy cooking up organic pumpkin soup for Halloween on October 31, why not drop by Daylesford Organic (daylesfordorganic.com) on Pimlico Road, or visit Pimlico Farmers Market (lfm.org.uk) the day before on the corner of Pimlico Road and Ebury Street – known locally as Orange or Mozart Square. Finally, you should definitely pay Elizabeth Street, Motcomb Street and

Pimlico Road a visit on 5 December (11am-4pm) when the whole area will be transformed into a luxury winter scene of lights and festive cheer for Belgravia’s Christmas Sunday. Father Christmas and real-life reindeer have been invited, as well as a merry band of seasonal helpers and carol singers. Along with special offers and gift ideas from local shops, there will be festive food, drink, children’s gifts and crafts, so this one is perfect for the family. Together, Belgravia, central Victoria and Pimlico have something unique to offer all shopping tastes. Embark on a walking expedition and you’ll find all sorts of delights and surprises. In Pimlico, for example, you’ll just as easily find a wedding dress as you will rare upholstery fabrics, a second-hand book, or a take-away cappuccino to warm yourself up when summer sets and autumn leaves. Perfect London – surely this is what living in the capital is all about. So, why not hop off that tube or train right now and start your journey of discovery?

For more information about shopping in the Victoria area, including Pimlico and Belgravia, please visit our website and take a look at some of the offers from local businesses.

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Published by the Victoria Business Improvement District


INTERVIEW WITH A RETAILER

What do you think Victoria BID’s biggest challenge will be? Internally, it will be enlisting support across the business community. Externally, it will be the dominance of the West End and cutting through the noise it makes. What changes would you like to see achieved by the Victoria BID? I would like the Victoria BID to achieve all the things it promised to deliver in its manifesto. What is the best advice you've ever received Keep it simple and do things with impact and a smile. What is the best lesson you have ever learnt? Always accept feedback, however difficult. It helps you improve. What is your motto in life? Sales are Vanity. Margin is Sanity.

Q&A Anthony Smith General Manager, House of Fraser

What makes the BID such a great place to carry out business? There is a consistently strong footfall in Victoria due to its position as a key transport hub for London and Gatwick Airport. The area’s rich heritage and the existence of such incredible tourist attractions as Westminster Cathedral and Buckingham Palace are a real magnet for visitors, too. Then, of course, there’s the vibrant cultural life, including having the most successful West End shows on our doorstep. How long have you worked in Victoria and what has been the most significant change in that time? Although I’ve only worked here for a year, the most significant change I’ve seen is the development and progress in both the retail and leisure offering and in office development, a mark of the expansion of local and corporate businesses.

www.inSW1.com

In recent times, who has been your most treasured shopper and why? The regular one – because they are always first and confident enough to tell us where we got it right and where we got it wrong. Do you have a particular outlet or line that you are proud to have in the department store? Biba. As an exclusive brand, it gives us a really special point of difference. It supports the heritage of our brand and is fantastic. Plus, having the gorgeous Daisy Lowe as the face of our campaign will attract a wider audience to House of Fraser. What do you prefer, tie or open-necked shirt? It has to be a tie for work and open-neck at the weekend. What is your favourite dish on the HoF staff canteen menu? Honey and chilli peanuts.

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WORKING LIVES

It's Party Time With Christmas edging ever closer you are probably already seeking a place to hold the best party ever this year. Look no further. Victoria, Belgravia and Pimlico are bursting with venues with everything you need. Here’s a selection... Altitude 360 29th Floor Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank SW1P 4QP T  0845 5002929 www.altitudelondon.com Specialises in events such as Christmas parties 51 BUCKINGHAM GATE The Library Bistro 51 Quilon Bank Westminster and Zander Bar T  020 7769 7766 www.51-buckinghamgate.com Take your pick from some of the best places to party in SW1 whether large or small B-Bar and Restaurant

43 Buckingham Palace Road SW1W 0PP T  020 7958 7000 www.bbarlondon.com

Boisdale 15 Eccleston Street, SW1W 9LX T  020 7730 6922 www.boisdale.co.uk/belgravia/ Private dining with live jazz Comfort Inn Buckingham Palace Road 10 St George's Drive SW1V 4BJ T  020 7834 2988 www.comfortinnvictoria.co.uk Crowne Plaza London St James 45-51 Buckingham Gate SW1E 6A T  020 7834 6655 www.london.crowneplaza.com Dolphin Bar & Grill Dolphin Square, Chichester St SW1V 3LX T  020 7798 8000 www.dolphinsquare.co.uk Bar and lounge for private hire

Grange Rochester Hotel 69 Vincent Square SW1P 2PA T  020 7828 6611 www.grangehotels.com

SW1 Gallery Cardinal Place Victoria Street SW1E 5JE T  020 7963 4024 www.sw1gallery.co.uk

The Goring 15 Beeston Place SW1W 0JW T  020 7396 9000 reception@thegoring.com www.thegoring.com

The Marquis of Westminster 50 Warwick Way SW1V1RY T  020 7828 1700 Private dining function room

The Grosvenor LOndon Chez Gerrard 101 Buckingham Palace Road SW1W 0SJ T  0871 376 9038 www.thistle.com Special Christmas packages including Champagne, dinner and room hire Hesperia London VICTORIA 2 Bridge Place SW1V 1QA T  020 7834 8123 www.hesperia.com Special Christmas packages-themed drinks reception or more traditional Christmas dinner Park Plaza VICTORIA LONDON 239 Vauxhall Bridge Road SW1V 1EQ T  020 7769 9999 www.parkplaza.com/londonuk_victoria The Royal Horticultural Halls & Conference Centre 80 Vincent Square SW1P 2PE T  020 7828 4125 www.horticultural-halls.co.uk Various creative spaces available for larger groups The Rubens at the palace 39 Buckingham Palace Road SW1W 0PS T  020 7834 6600 www.rubenshotel.com

The Orange Public House & Hotel 37 Pimlico Road SW1W 8NE T  020 7881 9844 www.theorange.co.uk/sleeping.html The Garden Atrium Bar and The Music Room The Thomas Cubitt 44 Elizabeth Street SW1W 9PA T  020 7730 6060 www.thethomascubitt.co.uk Various function rooms for hire The Vincent Rooms 76 Vincent Square SW1P 2PD T  020 7802 8391 www.thevincentrooms.com Private hire of the Escoffier Room for fine dining Thistle Westminster 49 Buckingham Palace Road SW1W 0QT T  0871 376 9039 www.thistle.com/en/hotels/united_kingdom/ london/thistle_westminster/index.html The westminster collection T  07541 314855 www.thewestminstercollection.co.uk 45 Millbank 16 John Islip Street SW1P 4JU T  020 7514 8514 www.45millbank.com Elegant event space offering every possible element needed for a spectacular party

For more restaurants and bars visit the Eating and Drinking section of our website 22

Published by the Victoria Business Improvement District


restaurant REVIEW

They serve Desserts to die for... ha ha bar & grill (www.hahaonline.co.uk) Cardinal Walk, Cardinal Place, Victoria, SW1E 5AG To book: 020 7821 1450

ha ha bar & grill describes itself as a casual-dining restaurant. Occupying one of the larger sites within the western quarter of Cardinal Place, this venue makes a point of using the freshest, highest-quality produce, sourced from the best of British suppliers. Here three of our guests, Sorrel Comley of Grosvenor, Catherine Riccomini of House of Fraser and Aimie Liddle of Victoria Palace Theatre give us their review of the venue and meal. Sorrel Comley Grosvenor Media Relations Assistant The glass walls of ha ha bar & grill ensure that the dining area is flooded with light and the modern décor and wooden floors makes it feel incredibly spacious. The downside to this is that the smallest noise is magnified, often making it hard to hold a conversation. www.inSW1.com

I started with the hot grilled king prawns, which were tasty, and lived up to their description of being very hot! This was followed by the sirloin steak, which was perfectly cooked and served with delicious skinny fries. The serving staff were very attentive and on hand to provide an array of condiments. I was already feeling quite full, so it was definitely a good idea to share desserts because the portions were very large. I have to say, the cheesecake was delicious – and I don't even like cheesecake! Overall, ha ha bar & grill is relaxed and serves good quality, flavoursome food. I was pleasantly surprised and would be happy to eat there again. Catherine Riccomini PR and Promotions Manager House of Fraser Oxford Street | Westfield | City | Victoria The fillet steak was good quality, chips were piping hot and that was great. I had one of ha ha bar & grill's recommended wines, the Chilean Merlot, which was good and well priced. There's a healthy selection of desserts, perfect for sharing. Aimie Liddle Assistant to the General Managers Victoria Palace Theatre Only a minute's walk away from my work place, ha ha bar & grill's location within Cardinal Place is ideal. Having passed it on a number of occasions, my impression of the place was of an empty, dark bar that only seemed to come alive at the end of

the working day. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when we were shown to our table upstairs in a very light and bright area. The dining room is surrounded by glass windows and really brings the outdoors in. After a hard morning cooped up in an office, this is an ideal, very refreshing space. The staff were attentive but not intrusive and took our order promptly. I started with the goat's cheese. The perfect amount of onion chutney with the goat's cheese resulted in me clearing my plate, no problem. My starter was followed by a wonderfully flavoured butternut squash, walnut and blue cheese risotto, that for me was rather too large, though I did still really enjoy it. Maybe offering a smaller portion size for a lower price would be more convenient for a lunchtime time menu? Having eaten my own body weight in risotto, I was thankful that we all decided to share dessert. The clear favourite for us was the cookies and cream. Three words… To Die For.

If you would like your restaurant to be reviewed or would like to join us in reviewing a local restaurant, please contact Nina Provençal. T  020 3004 0790 E  nina.provencal@insw1.com Visit our website for more places to eat and drink in SW1– www.insw1.com

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BUSINESS MATTERS

How we'll Boost the Local Economy John Hodgkiss, Economic Development Officer, outlines the BID's newly defined ambitions to support the business community of SW1.

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• Identifying jobs across occupational areas, within the retail and hospitality sectors, from entry-level positions through to piloting opportunities for highly skilled positions and graduate programmes; • Informing the London Employer Accord of new employment opportunities in the Victoria area within a three-week window, from notification of vacancy through to final employer interview.

ollowing on from the consultative process we’ve conducted with local businesses during the past three months, the BID will be starting to implement the development of a more prosperous local economy for the area by introducing several new initiatives during the later half of 2010 and early 2011. These have been created to address conditions for improvement and will encompass employment skills, business networking, operational standards and introducing recognised forms of accreditation. Victoria Employment Charter In response to the needs of local business, we are introducing the Victoria Employment Charter during September and October. The BID’s programme is being developed and implemented by John Hodgkiss, our new Economic Development Officer. John will be working closely with our local partners to ensure that the area’s workforce is given every employment opportunity possible to fine tune and improve the current employment landscape in Victoria by prioritising local business requirements, as well as providing access to training and apprenticeship schemes to increase potential employability. This will be achieved by:

Business Breakfast Meetings For those who like to start the day ahead of the pack, we will also be introducing the first in a series of quarterly Business Breakfast Meetings. They will provide a forum for businesses of all types and sizes and across all market sectors within the BID area to meet and network. Every meeting will be hosted by a different local company, which will give each the opportunity to showcase its business activities to its neighbours within the BID area. They will become useful networking opportunities, so that before starting the working day, each business representative will have the opportunity to exchange ideas, check out the competition and to establish activities such as training or team building, creating alliances among themselves. These

For more information about the BID plans in support of business in Victoria, Pimlico and Belgravia, please visit our website.

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Published by the Victoria Business Improvement District


FOCUS

forums will also be the moment for us to keep local businesses up to date with the latest BID projects and local partner developments, as well as our responses to local news, crime and safety briefings. Business of the Month Our monthly business feature has already kicked off with an interview with Malcolm Hendry, General Manager at The Rubens at the Palace, 41 Hotel and bbar and restaurant. You will discover more about The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, a hugely successful luxury collection of 13 five- and four-star family-run boutique hotels, by reading about it on the website. Look out for the special feature in this issue (see page 4), where Malcolm Hendry discusses the needs of the business traveller with Kate Simon. For those businesses that want to be featured in future, contact John at john.hodgkiss@insw1.com. Customer Service Standard We will also be introducing a recognised Customer Service Standard to be developed in conjunction with our members, to ensure that Victoria offers outstanding customer service. This applies in particular to those businesses operating in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors (B2C). The scheme is being introduced with the aim of improving our experience of Victoria for all visitors, complementing the great visitor offering that the wider SW1 area provides. The scheme is going through the consultation period at the moment. Once this has been completed, it is due to be implemented in February or March 2011.

www.inSW1.com

HOWICK PLACE

SW1’s new creative hub A former backwater, Howick Place, running parallel to Victoria Street, has become the latest ugly duckling to be transformed into a swan by Italian designer Alessandro Cajrati Crivelli. In his first project outside Italy, Crivelli has masterminded a development that has converted an old Royal Mail postal depot into a desirable creative hub. And the development has quickly attracted a string of A-list occupants: contemporary art auction house Phillips de Pury, art dealer Simon Lee, international designer Marc Newson, and fashion designer and film director Tom Ford. The new complex exudes an understated opulence with large spaces cleverly divided by the architects Squire & Partners into commercial space and living accommodation. The Phillips de Pury showroom alone is 40,000 sq ft. It is unusual for a London development to be so generous in size. Places tend to get carved up too tightly or with little imagination. The scope of the development originally envisaged planning permission for 122 tiny flats. It was reconfigured and Crivelli introduced a mixture of commercial and domestic usage, reducing the number of living spaces to nine large loft apartments. Due to the demand for more space by each occupant, this has since dropped to just five much larger spaces. Ever the shrewd entrepreneur, Crivelli realised that it was the volume of space as much as the level of finish that commands a premium and is the ultimate luxury in a city such as London. Milan’s Zona Tortona is the development that gained Crivelli his reputation. It was a run-down industrial district on the edge of a city short of flexible spaces. As with Howick Place, he saw his opportunity. Eight years on, this vibrant fashion neighbourhood is populated by global brands and hosts prestigious events including the Milan Furniture Fair. This event alone brought in £180 million to the local economy. During the past 18 months, Howick Place has been the location for several top fashion shows and exhibitions by photographers Mario Testino and Annie Leibovitz, all of which have undoubtedly drawn an influential crowd to Victoria. Should Mr Crivelli decide to set his sights on another development opportunity in the area, SW1 would surely benefit.

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VICTORIA BID SUPPORTS CANCER RESEARCH

We can help promote your event With lots of Christmas activities in the pipeline in SW1, the BID is keen to promote your Christmas event. If you are a retailer in Victoria and have planned events or promotions inside or outside your store, please let us know.

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research. The charity has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates double in the past 40 years. For example, people diagnosed with breast, bowel and ovarian cancers and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are today twice as likely to survive for at least 10 years as those diagnosed in the early 1970s. The percentage of women likely to survive breast cancer for at least 10 years has jumped from less than 40 per cent to 77 per cent, while the proportion of people likely to survive bowel cancer has risen from 23 per cent to 50 per cent. There is also encouraging news for leukaemia with patients four times as likely to survive for 10 years compared with those diagnosed in the early 1970s. The charity’s work is funded entirely by the public. While much has been achieved in the fight against cancer, there is still more to do. Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of more than 4,800 scientists, doctors and nurses. Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: “There are many reasons for our continuing success in the fight against cancer, including faster diagnosis, better surgery, more effective radiotherapy and many new drugs, all developed using the knowledge that our laboratory research has given us. “We expect this trend to continue, hastened by Cancer Research UK’s investment in research in all these areas.”

Please email Nina Provençal at nina.provencal@insw1.com with the details of your Christmas activities no matter how big or small or call her on 0203 004 0790.

www. www.cancerresearchuk.org

Join the Christmas Carol Concert at Westminster Cathedral

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his year will see Cancer Research’s UK flagship Christmas concert pay a special visit to Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday December 7. As one of the proud sponsors of the event, Victoria BID will invite members to this spectacular concert, which includes a Champagne reception and dinner at SW1 Gallery. The concert will showcase a feast of traditional carols and readings, featuring worldrenowned opera singers, celebrated actors and musicians. There will also be a procession of kings, set inside the Cathedral, marking the beginning of the festive season. Past celebrity readers have included Dame Judi Dench, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Kate Winslet. HRH Princess Alexandra will be attending the event, along with a host of other distinguished guests. Although an invitation-only event, there will be a limited quantity of tickets on sale from the Barbican booking office from October 8 onwards, ranging from £25 – £100. Previous concerts have raised nearly £2 million to date and all proceeds and sponsorship will go to Cancer Research UK to support their vital work. Tickets for this event will be available from the November 8 via the Barbican booking website.www.barbican.org.uk/eticketing/index.asp

Illuminate We are shaping up two major festive events to take place in the heart of Victoria. One will be our Illuminate event, which will see the spectacular lighting of Victoria Street’s underpass walkway, and the other is the second of our themed markets, with mulled wine and a few extra trimmings. Keep an eye on our website for full details as they emerge.

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Published by the Victoria Business Improvement District


LAST WORDS

  Diary of events SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

EATING & DRINKING

EATING & DRINKING

Autumn Food Market Roof Garden, Cardinal Place SW1E 5JD 22 September, 11am – 3pm   Free Entry Fancy a treat to eat at lunchtime or looking to buy something a little special, then head to the roof garden at Cardinal Place. With 20 market stalls selling gorgeous food from a hog roast to Thai specialties and Peruvian delights to homemade fudge, there will be something delicious to make your mouth water. www.cardinalplace.co.uk

The London Restaurant Festival Various venues 4-8 October   From £18.50 Food lovers can explore some of the capital’s finest cooking in October, including SW1's Amaya Bar & Grill, Pétrus, The Pantechnicon Public House & Dining Room, The Orange Public House & Hotel and The Thomas Cubitt, which are all taking part in this festival. To find out more information visit the festival website – www.visitlondon. com/londonrestaurantfestival

MUSIC

Royal Hospital Chelsea Concerts The State Apartment, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4SR. 29 September   £16 The award-winning Badke Quartet kicks off this year’s Royal Hospital Chelsea concert series with a concert at The State Apartment. The event will begin with Haydn’s String Quartet in D minor, finishing with Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No 2, an absolute delight for lovers of classical music. Call 07554 658 458 for tickets and more information. www.chelsea-pensioners.co.uk

AUTUMN/WINTER 2010

Christmas in SW1 Christmas Market   See inSW1.com for more details Following on from the success of our Summer market in July, keep an eye on www.insw1.com/events for details of the planned Christmas market including something a little bit special. Victoria Street ILLUMINATE   See inSW1.com for more details Be part of the spectacular light switch-on, which will stretch down Victoria Street, accompanied by a musical performance guaranteed to boost your Christmas spirit. Details are still in the making so keep an eye on our website.

MUSIC

Piers Lane Concert St Peter’s Church, Eaton Square, SW1W 9AL 21 October, 7.30pm   £15  (£10 concessions) Piers Lane’s illustrious career has taken him to the world’s most famous concert halls, including London’s Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, and Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York. We are extremely happy to be sponsoring this concert, where he celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Chopin. www.eatonsquareconcerts. org.uk. Box office: 020 8144 3656 (Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm)

WALKING TOURS in SW1

Cancer Research UK’s Christmas Carol Concert December 7 6.15pm Westminster Cathedral   See inSW1.com for more details The Cancer Research UK Flagship Christmas Carol Concert in the presence of HRH Princess Alexandra is a magical evening held this year in Victoria’s iconic Westminster Cathedral. For ticket information see previous page. Cardinal place will light up in festive mood on Saturday November 13. Belgravia christmas sunday   See inSW1.com for more details Belgravia becomes a winter wonderland, with a selection of great Belgravia shops offering special offers and gift ideas alongside street entertainers and activities for the children.

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Discover Victoria, Belgravia and Pimlico, their vibrant present, colourful past and promising future. Designed to give you fresh insight into the area’s history. Visit our website for more information   www.insw1.com

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inSW1 Magazine – issue 2