Campaign to make Sherlock Holmes’s home street a prime destination

A campaign is underway to turn one of London’s most iconic but underwhelming roads into a thriving business quarter.

A campaign is underway to turn one of London’s most iconic but underwhelming roads into a thriving business quarter.

Over the past few decades Baker Street, which was made famous by Sherlock Holmes’s fictional 221B address, has become little more than a busy route into central London.

But with a number of new businesses bringing recent development to the road, landowners Portman Estate are hoping to build on the success by turning the area into a Business Improvement District (BID).

The BID, which sees businesses agree to invest money to improve the local area and trading environment, would take in the stretch of Baker Street between Marylebone Road and Oxford Street as well as many surrounding roads. Simon Loomes, Portman Estate strategic projects director, said: “Baker Street and Portman Square are experiencing growth with a number of new developments coming through.

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“The aim now is to attract greater interest and investment, maximising the potential of the area.

“Bringing key stakeholders together will provide a stronger voice for businesses, enabling us to work in a more collaborative way to position Baker Street Quarter as a prime destination.”

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Although the Baker Street BID is in the early stages – with a consultation with local businesses earmarked for early 2013 – it could see major changes take place, including the one-way road changing to accommodate two-way traffic.

Ruth Duston, of Primera Corporation, commissioned to develop the BID, said: “It’s very well placed as a corporate location and you have an excellent shopping centre on offer nearby in the West End.

“But because Baker Street is one-way it is an enormous barrier to trying to create a destination that people would want to spend time in.

“We want to work with businesses to take on some environmental projects and make it much easier for pedestrians to move around.”

The proposed BID has a number of key objectives including marketing and promoting the area, improving the local environment, and encouraging more business growth.

More than 100 BIDs are already in existence across the UK including nearby Paddington and Bayswater.

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