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Soho’s council reaches out to gay community

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  1. Ian Hislop 15 Aug 2007, 1:20pm

    I would suggest that Sir Simon Milton should take a walk along Gerrard Street (the main street in China Town) and then a walk down Old Compton Street. He will no-doubt notice the lavish street furniture, the quality paving and the fact that the street has been pedestrianised. These works which cost tens of thousands of pounds was undertaken to support the Chinese community.Meanwhile, Old Compton Street, the centre of the gay community in the UK is the poor relation. The paving stones long removed and replaced by tar mac which has been dug up and parched so many times its very uneven. The other street furnuture is of a poor quality and the area has a run-down-air about it. The council have leased out large sections of the pavement to cafes, even though the pavements are very narrow and this now force the majority of pedestrians to take-their-lives-into-their-own-hands having to dodge aggressively driven black cabs and pedicabs. When there is a quick buck to be made leasing out the pavement pedestrian saftey becomes a poor second place. After the abortive pedestrianised scheem the council did put in traffic carming measures, but these have all been removed. There is a lot the council could do to improve Soho – tackling the run down pavements and traffic carming to slow down the cars that race round at 40mph would be a good start!