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City unveils £4m plan to restore London’s oldest high street

PUBLISHED: 18:57 15 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:26 05 October 2010

New look for Cheapside, London's oldest high street

New look for Cheapside, London's oldest high street

PLANS to bring back London’s oldest high street after many centuries go on show from today (July 15). A £4 million project by the City Corporation turns Cheapside back to its Mediaeval roots as London’s first high street’ and the capital’s major shopping thoroughfare—as in Dick Whittington’s day

Mike Brooke

PLANS to bring back London's oldest high street after many centuries go on show from today (Tuesday, July 15).

An ambitious £4 million project by the City Corporation turns Cheapside back into the capital's major shopping thoroughfare.

Cheapside currently has 'too few shops and stores' and only serves as 'a mere weekday convenience' for the tens-of-thousands of office workers in the commercial centres that dominate the business district between Bank and St Paul's.

Now planners at The Guildhall want to see it turned into a 'retail magnate' with wider pavements and emphasis on 'pedestrian shopping' to encourage more people back into the Square Mile who don't necessarily work there.

Details of the plan on show at the City Corporation's marketing suite at 80 Basinghall-street, behind The Guildhall, include widening pavements, planting trees and laying out more pedestrian crossings.

The project will act as a catalyst for 12 new building schemes to create 167 shops and stores with 1.5 million sq ft of retail space.

The strategy returns Cheapside to its roots as London's first high street... the name derives from the Old English word 'cheap', meaning market.

A cultural programme is also envisaged in the plans to include the City's rich heritage of festivals, pageantry and processions, with Cheapside hosting public events and artists' projects.

Just such an event takes place on Saturday (July 19) when it is transformed into a contemporary version of the original medieval market that made Cheapside a famous thoroughfare in Dick Whittington's time.

The streets leading off still bear names relating to goods originally traded there, such as Honey-lane, Milk-street, Bread-street and Poultry.

The City Fathers hope to complete Cheapside's 'rebirth' by 2012, when the London Olympics are staged five miles to the east at Stratford.

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