Marble Arch gave a big welcome to the Deputy Mayor, Rajesh Agrawal, on 8 May, with a tour of businesses and projects across the district.
The Deputy Mayor of London for Business, with his Greater London Authority officer team, chose Marble Arch to meet businesses large and small, from retail to hospitality, to hear first hand the pressing issues for businesses in the area. Meeting the Marble Arch Street Team and seeing plans for junctions, crossings and rain gardens in the area, Rajesh wasted no time in meeting our members.
First stop Specsavers, who have been on Edgware Road for 25 years. The Deputy Mayor met Seema Patel and Said Aghabozorg, and listened to concerns about business rates, the high street and the changing face of retail. Stephanie Segoura from Marriott Marble Arch was next in line to welcome Rajesh, where they shared perceptions of the UK hospitality sector in the light of Brexit, and the recruitment challenges in the industry.
Marble Arch London BID’s Chairman, Nigel Beet, from the Victory Services Club gave the Deputy Mayor a tour of the Club, and showed off newly refurbished, award-winning Carisbrooke Hall.
The first visitor from the Mayoral family to step inside the new Hard Rock Hotel London, Rajesh was shown around by Alex Phillips, Property Director of GLH Hotels. Rock memorabilia aplenty did not distract the Deputy Mayor from hearing about GLH’s investment to transform the Cumberland Hotel into the Hard Rock Hotel. A fleeting visit to The Rock Shop before heading off to Marble Arch.
We paused at Marble Arch, where we were joined by Simon Loomes, Vice-chairman of Marble Arch London BID, and Executive Director of The Portman Estate, John Stevens, Head of Commercial Estates at English Heritage, and Rosemarie Jones, Deputy Surveyor to the Church Commissioners for England. Rajesh was treated to a tour inside Marble Arch by English Heritage, while we heard about plans to improve the public realm around the Arch itself.
Rosemarie Jones led the Deputy Mayor on a tour of Connaught Village on the Hyde Park Estate, meeting retailers and seeing investment by the Church Commissioners and small businesses. Rajesh met Rhuaridh Buchanan, the area’s cherished cheesemonger before moving on to David Farber (and dog Cooper) of Connaught Cellars.
A tour of Edgware Road and Marble Arch would not be complete without a visit to Maroush Gardens, where a little mezze provided the perfect setting for the Mayor to share his reflections on his visit.