Leading Architects Called For Leicester Square Makeover

10 January 2008 (Last Updated January 10th, 2008 11:37)

It is home to the UK's leading film premiers and attracts Hollywood stars on a regular basis – now London's Leicester Square is set for an overhaul to make it one of the city's main attractions. Westminster Council launched plans today for an £18.5m revamp of the square, and called for

It is home to the UK's leading film premiers and attracts Hollywood stars on a regular basis – now London's Leicester Square is set for an overhaul to make it one of the city's main attractions.

Westminster Council launched plans today for an £18.5m revamp of the square, and called for expressions of interest from internationally renowned architects that may want to take their own starring role.

The redevelopment plans to offer more seating – including an eye-catching 200m-wide granite 'ribbon' seat to add to the alfresco atmosphere.

The official ticket booth on the south terrace will also be rebuilt in a more contemporary style.

Leicester Square was officially developed in the 1670s, after which it became a fashionable area of London and home to royalty.

It wasn't until the 1800s that it became synonymous with British entertainment, with two large theatres being built in the later part of the century.

The new plans will aim to retain some of the square's cultural importance, making way for arts and cultural programmes as well as being a 'glamorous' backdrop for film premiers.

Westminster City Council leader Sir Simon Milton says the redevelopment will help keep the interest of millions of visitors who visit the square each year.

"This is very much an area for the people, and we want visitors to be able to relax and enjoy the sites and the array of dining and entertainment on offer," Milton says.

By Penny Jones