Interview:Sarah Porter – Chief Executive, Heart of London Business Alliance.

In my role as Chief Executive of the UK’s first Business Improvement District (BID), Heart of London, I have seen a transformation of Leicester Square to today’s vibrant space.It is now a true place for all. In particular, the focus on the entertainment industry has been evolved and now the seven hotels in the Square, exceptional office space and wonderful al fresco dining like nowhere else, has meant that the Square changes seamlessly through the day. This results in a myriad of experiences that we look to develop and animate with activity that befits a world-class destination.

Our aim has always been to work with the businesses, the property owners and the Local Authority in the Square to take collective custody of the space to ensure that Leicester Square and the wider area are a real destination that allows people to live, eat and entertain themselves. In doing this we have looked to other global cities like New York and the similar development of Times Square and Bryant Park – public realm that has been managed and curated to encourage interaction and enjoyment. By learning from others, working hard as a community and challenging ourselves to innovate, I believe that Leicester Square is a unique place at the centre of the world’s greatest city.

Looking forward I expect that the shared passion and belief of the Leicester Square community will see it maintain its position as a space like no other in London, always changing and with fun and surprise at its heart.

“Leicester Square is a world-class destination recognised around the globe but what do people actually expect from the Square and the surrounding area? I want them to find the unexpected, I want them to be delighted and excited and most important of all, I want them to come back again and again.”