One of Posh's Favourite Shopping Haunts Is Set for a Makeover; DESIGNS UNVEILED TO RID SLOANE SQUARE OF ITS 'DULL' IMAGE

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS LYDALL

SLOANE SQUARE is set to follow Trafalgar Square with a major transformation to boost its "dull" image.

Lord Rogers, the Mayor's architectual adviser and designer of the Millennium Dome, is working with council planners and landowners to return the square to its 1930s layout and make it more attractive to pedestrians.

At present it is regarded as little more than a traffic roundabout, despite the presence of major attractions such as Peter Jones department store, the Royal Court Theatre and the shops and restaurants of King's Road.

The square and Sloane Street are home to world-famous fashion boutiques, including Victoria Beckham's favourite designer Maria Grachvogel, plus outlets for Yves St Laurent, Gucci and Prada.

It is also a major interchange for passengers travelling between Sloane Square Tube and buses to south Chelsea and Battersea.

Four designs are about to go out to public consultation, with the most radical drawing on the success of Ken Livingstone's partial pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square. This banned traffic from the north of the square to allow the creation of a "grand piazza" stretching from the National Gallery.

The design, which landowners Cadogan Estate regard as the frontrunner, would see Sloane Square's central paved area transformed into one large pedestrian area beside the Tube station and another outside Peter Jones.

The road from the square to Sloane Gardens and Holbein Place - a common rat-run for motorists - would also be blocked off, as would Symons Street.

The project may cost up to u5 million, depending on which option is chosen, and could be completed within two years.

Sloane Square is in the first 10 of the 100 public spaces identified by the Mayor for upgrading by 2007.

He believes they mark London out as one of the world's most civilised cities - but says he is "frequently appalled by the shabby and neglected state of some of our public spaces".

Mr Livingstone regards Sloane Square as a "typical wasted space, cut off from pedestrian circulation by traffic on all sides". …