HOARDINGS set to block the front entrance of Grays antiques centre in London’s West End for up to three years have already hit trade, say dealers.
But they are fighting back with a banner campaign to let people
know that it's business as usual despite the extensive work
disrupting the area as Crossrail redevelop Bond Street station.
The embattled dealers at Grays, who were originally told that
the hoardings would be up for only six months, are having to deal
with two further development projects in the area at the same time:
Transport for London are renovating Bond Street underground
station, while the nearby Hog in the Pound pub has been demolished
to make way for a new luxury-brand shopping unit.
Crossrail have tried to address fears that no one would realise
Grays was open by putting up directional signs to the centre around
the hoardings, which went up in mid October, but the dealers say
they are either in the wrong place or direct people the wrong way,
and a site visit by ATG confirmed that what had been provided was
far from satisfactory.
Now the dealers have had 15 horizontal banners designed which
they intend to display in the vicinity with the consent of the
Grays' management have also been in talks with Westminster
Council, who agreed to the installation of additional banners,
including on the site of the former pub facing Oxford Street.
This all follows the news that emerged last month that the grout
shaft which is located immediately outside Grays' front entrance
will need to be sealed off until at least 2015.
Crossrail announced in their most recent newsletter that, due to
'the potential for ground movement', engineers would require
constant access to the shaft throughout the excavation work for the
new tunnels and station so that they can pump in grout to
compensate for any instability.
Work on removing surface worksites will only begin once the
ground has fully settled over the next 12 months.
Crossrail told ATG that they were "very sensitive to the
concerns of Grays" and had been working closely with them to
minimise the impact of construction.
"We have recently installed improved signage for Grays around
the exterior of our neighbouring worksite which includes Perspex
hoardings that keep the antiques centre within view of potential
customers," they said.
While Crossrail pointed out that they had also listed the names
of all the individual dealers on an over-sized banner, this only
can be seen by those who have already arrived at the centre's front
entrance. With the pedestrian access on both sides of Davies Street
greatly reduced, the route to Gray's from Oxford Street and the
underground station is obscured by the hoardings for both the
Crossrail and TfL projects.
A TfL spokesperson said: "London Underground's work on Davies
Street is due to be completed next spring. We are in contact with
Grays Antiques and we already have signs in place and a way-finding
map to direct people to their centre. However we will look at
erecting more signs."
By Alex Capon