Game-changing £23m regeneration works at City of London Aldgate Square completed

Charles Bowman, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, will officially open the newly transformed award-winning Aldgate Square on Wednesday 4 July.

The City of London Corporation, with funding and support from the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL), has completed the redevelopment of the Square, which contains a stunning new pavilion designed by Make Architects.

The Square is only 75 metres from Aldgate Underground station, between Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School and St Botolph without Aldgate Church. As part of the redevelopment of the area, a second new public space is located at the junction of Middlesex Street and St Botolph Street.

Aldgate was identified in 2008 as an area needing support from the City Corporation to promote regeneration. Since the works began on the Square and the surrounding streets, the Dorsett Hotel and Hotel Indigo have opened there, with a Travelodge due later in the summer and Canopy by Hilton joining in 2018/2019.

Now home to one of the largest public spaces in the Square Mile, there are 15 TfL bus routes serving the area which is located less than a 10-minute walk from the Tower of London, a site that welcomed more than 2.8 million visitors last year. In addition to attracting hotels and tourists, Aldgate is fast becoming a key London hub for community and business.

The new Aldgate Square follows the completion of the nearby Helical Creechurch Place scheme by Helical and The Whitechapel Building by Derwent. These developments have drawn international corporations such as Dell and Aecom, SMEs and start-ups like Uber and WeWork, public service body the Government Digital Service and City firms such as Hyperion Insurance to the area.

Improvements to Aldgate Square started in 2012 and include:

  • replacing the one-way gyratory system with two-way traffic, new cycling facilities on Aldgate High Street, Middlesex Street and St Botolph Street, including a fully segregated north-south cycle route along the western side of Aldgate Square, with three pedestrian crossing points along the route
  • delivering two new public spaces
  • planting 71 trees
  • new drinking water fountains at both public spaces
  • £1m revamping of St Botolph without Aldgate Church gardens
  • two new water features including parabolic jets and a shallow pool
  • the Portsoken pavilion café

Aldgate Square is the first public space for the area’s multicultural residents and was designed as part of efforts to remove barriers between the different communities. Nearby Middlesex Street Estate and Mansell Street social housing estates will benefit from improved walking routes to and from the nearby school, underground station, Artisan Street Library and the arrival of Kahaila, a new social enterprise café, selected by the City Corporation and local communities, set in the Portsoken Pavilion.

The City Corporation’s road danger reduction team has delivered a full day of safety activities for 260 pupils from Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School which included a guided walk around the Aldgate changes and hazard awareness, fire safety awareness and stranger danger.

City Corporation research has revealed that air pollution at the school at the Square has fallen below the legal annual limit for the first time since monitoring began in 2003 as a direct result of the improvements. The two, new free water bottle refill points have been installed as part of a bid to reduce the use of plastic and encourage a refill culture.

Chris Hayward, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, said:

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to see a gyratory which reflected 1960s traffic planning, brought into the 21st century. With the imminent arrival of the Elizabeth line, it is the number-one priority that our infrastructure is fit for purpose.

“More than ever we are seeing businesses focusing on local amenities and making location decisions based on the quality of public realm that they can offer their employees. The completion of the square marks a step change to the area, demonstrating to investors that they should continue to commit to the City’s world class public realm.

“These were ambitious plans but it is only right that we deliver a healthy, inclusive environment for the diverse residents, school children, visitors and workers in Europe’s leading business district.”

Transformational projects like Aldgate Square form a key part of achieving the Mayor’s intention to increase the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80 per cent of journeys by 2041. The Mayor’s Transport Strategy sets out a long-term ambition to create more attractive, accessible and people-friendly streets across London, where everybody can enjoy spending time and being physically active. This is supported by TfL’s £2.1bn Healthy Streets Approach which is helping to achieve this by making walking and cycling easier and safer.

Deputy Mayor for Transport, Heidi Alexander said:

“The completion of Aldgate Square will provide huge benefits for people living and working in this famous part of the capital. Not only will it allow thousands more people to enjoy spending time outside in a transformed public space, but the investment in new cycling and walking infrastructure will allow even more people to make cycling and walking a part of their everyday routine.

“Improving the environment is good for business, and good for the health of every Londoner. Whether you live or work in the area, or pass through on your commute, the transformation of Aldgate Square will improve quality of life for everyone.”

Sarah Shuttleworth, Project Architect from Make Architects said:

“The final scheme is beautiful – distinctive, yet respectful of the heritage architecture surrounding it. It provides a bespoke civic amenity and the ambition and determination of the City of London Corporation to persist and deliver the square and the pavilion - despite the challenges - in order to transform this parcel of London for the benefit of the local community, should be applauded.”

Mark Jonathan Heyburn, Manager of the Dorsett City Hotel said:

“We are proud to have chosen Aldgate Square as our location for Dorsett City with the development being one of the main factors of our final decision. As the area is being regenerated, it has given us the unique opportunity to position our high-end hotel alongside some of the most innovative and exciting brands the City has to offer. We look forward to welcoming members of the local community and beyond into our hotel spaces whether they are popping in for a drink at the newly opened Jin Bo Law, our rooftop cocktail bar with panoramic views over the City’s iconic skyline, or as a hotel guest for a longer London stay.”

The City of London Corporation’s Aldgate Highway Changes and Public Realm Improvements Project won the Public Sector Award at the National Urban Design Awards 2018. This was based on the urban design work, engineering, planning, communications and community involvement.

It is the second in a series of pavilions planned by the City of London Corporation and was required to have an aesthetic relationship with the first, RIBA Award-winning pavilion, the City of London Information Centre adjacent to St Paul’s Cathedral, which was completed by Make in 2008.

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk