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Lamps ignite revamped Marylebone street

PUBLISHED: 11:27 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 07 September 2010

Josie Hinton A MAJOR revamp of a Marylebone street has been unveiled as part of a multi-million pound regeneration of the shopping district. Seymour Place has undergone a £400,000 makeover to encourage more people to visit its collection of boutique shops

Josie Hinton

A MAJOR revamp of a Marylebone street has been unveiled as part of a multi-million pound regeneration of the shopping district.

Seymour Place has undergone a £400,000 makeover to encourage more people to visit its collection of boutique shops and restaurants, as plans to rejuvenate Edgware Road continue.

Improvements to Seymour Place include the creation of wider pavements, laid in granite and York stone. The traditional Grey Wornum lamps have also been reinstated, in keeping with the area's historic status.

Traders have welcomed the changes, unveiled on Wednesday, which have been carried out by the council and Transport for London in conjunction with the Portman Estate.

Ken Summers, owner of Austrian restaurant Imbiss, said: "We chose to open our restaurant here because the area has great potential and with so much investment happening here it seems to be a promising place to set up a business.

"The area will be given a new lease of life and we should see new customers coming here from the busier shopping area of Oxford Street who I reckon will be pleasantly surprised by the local village atmosphere they find."

Westminster and the Portman Estate invested £155,000 in the project, with TfL contributing £80,000.

Simon Loomes, strategic projects director for the Portman Estate, said it had spent £7million restoring homes and shops in the Portman Village - of which Seymour Place is a part - over the past six years.

The Seymour Place improvements are part of the council's wider plans for the regeneration of the Edgware Road district, which has already seen a £600,000 makeover of Old Quebec Street. But despite small proposed improvements to Edgware Road, plans for a grand transformation - into something akin to Marylebone High Street - were scrapped in October when TfL pulled out.

Under the original proposals, there were ambitious plans to improve the crossings and overhaul the streetscape. The aim was create a cosmopolitan image with continental-style alfresco cafes. There was even a possibility for the road to be renamed Hyde Park High Street.

TfL committed millions of pounds the scheme, but the funds were later withdrawn and allocated to other projects, leaving residents and traders furious. Martin Low, director of transport at the council, said: "We are still working with TfL to try to secure small but important improvements to Edgware Road to make crossing it easier and safer.

"Developments such as those at recently completed Seymour Place, as well as a number of future projects which include improvements to the Marble Arch, Nutford Place and New Quebec Street areas, will also benefit Edgware Road's residents and visitors."

The area is best known for its fashion and furniture retailers, fine wine and flowers. Residents also know it for its food from India, China, Japan, the Middle East and Italy.

Its unique Grey Wornum lanterns were designed by the celebrated architect George Grey Wornum for Parliament Square as part of major road improvements in 1951. They have been used by no other borough.

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