Socially Distanced Soho

Remember when lockdown ended and everyone was horrified by the images of crowds drinking in Old Compton Street?

The government and client journalist communities have moved on to blaming foreigners and specifically Muslims for the ongoing pandemic. Meanwhile Soho’s independent and less independent businesses have been grappling with how to continue to exist.

The death of Soho has been announced many many times, but the Denmark Street catastrophe, the recent redevelopment at the southern end of Berwick Street and the gradual encroachment of the chain restaurants have all been taking their toll.

But with social distancing has come something that would have already have been in place for years if we were any other European city: pedestrianisation, and the reclaiming of the roads for restaurant tables, chairs, and people.

Old Compton Street is the hub of this apparently temporary car banning. You can still drive through Soho, but it’s much trickier now. And if you’re a cyclist it’s more confusing than ever, as indicated by the delivery riders trying to snake their way through. But if you’re walking, or wanting to drink or chat outside, the situation has decidedly improved.

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