Strategic Context

The King’s Road is one of the world’s most famous shopping and lifestyle destinations. From its royal origins to rebellious creative spirit, it has captured the imagination of generation after generation as the place for London society to see and be seen – but we must ensure that it continues to do so.

The Road is an intrinsic part of Britain’s cultural and social history. From its origins as the private Royal thoroughfare for the stylish King Charles II to travel between his palaces at Fulham and St James’s, the King’s Road has always been at the forefront of fashion trends, from Mods to Punks, Sloanes and New Romantics. It has been the epicentre of London’s art, fashion and music scene - the haunt of artists, radicals, painters and poets - and drawn iconic characters and stories, from Oscar Wilde, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Vivienne Westwood, Mary Quant, to Christian the lion and as ‘home’ to James Bond. Today, it is an aspirational destination with an abundance of independent shops, galleries and restaurants, but constant investment is needed to ensure it remains an inspiring, relevant experience and essential part of London’s rich character.

The King’s Road in a time of change

The King’s Road is in a stronger position than most to respond effectively to the structural changes that are hitting Britain’s high streets. It has the strength of its rich history, a global reputation and the determination of the interests represented by the King’s Road Partnership to work together to ensure its future.

But all shopping districts are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of rising costs (particularly business rates and Brexit related increases in the cost of employment and supplies) and falling revenues as consumers increasingly move online for their shopping. To this can now be added the impact of COVID-19, with the disruption to trade for more than a year and the fall in city centre office workers and visitors. On top of this, the Government’s decision to end the VAT RES (tax-free shopping) will hit hardest those parts of London that usually attract high spending international tourists.

These changes are taking place against a global backdrop of climate change and other environmental challenges. Tackling these requires active planning and delivery by everybody, including businesses, property owners.

As the world in which they operate is changing, the destinations most likely to survive and prosper are those that evolve to stay relevant and attractive to investors, residents, visitors and employees whilst ensuring a just and inclusive transition to a low carbon economy. And to evolve successfully requires the active engagement of all parts of the local community – businesses, property owners, public authorities, residents and other community groups and leaders.

The King’s Road Partnership recognised the need to engage local businesses to play their part in ensuring the Road’s s future sustainability, vibrancy and vitality. They commissioned a Feasibility Study into the formation of a local Business Improvement District (BID) as the means for uniting businesses and leading change and improvement in consultation with the wider community.

The Study, which involved interviews with a wide range of stakeholders, representing all sectors of the community, overwhelmingly supported the establishment of a BID. You can see the Feasibility Study here.

This Business Plan is a five-year programme, informed by the Feasibility Study and discussions with local businesses. It is designed to respond effectively to the changing retail environment by addressing the key challenges identified for the King’s Road.

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