New Southwark Council Leader, Cllr Kieron Williams, visited Bankside with Cllr Rebecca Lury, Cabinet Member for Finance, Jobs and Business for a tour of the neighbourhood and meetings with local businesses.
Cllr Kieron Williams was elected Leader of Southwark Council in September 2020. After an incredibly difficult year for businesses, Cllr Williams and Cllr Lury were keen to meet with business leaders to discuss how they can best be supported in getting city districts like Bankside back open and thriving.
BB Chair Donald Hyslop and CEO Nicole Gordon hosted the visit, introducing Cllr Williams and Cllr Lury to organisations across a variety of sectors and sizes including Hilton Bankside, The Africa Centre, Burgopak and Borough Market to hear challenges faced as well as positive stories of how businesses have adapted during the pandemic.
Hilton Bankside has remained open for key workers whilst also preparing meals for the local elderly community, and recently extended the terrace to provide more space for outdoor dining. The Africa Centre has reached new audiences through shifting to digital delivery for much of their cultural programme whilst progressing plans to open a new cultural centre in Bankside, securing Mayoral and Government funding towards the project. Like many office based businesses, creative packaging company Burgopak quickly adapted to remote working and have been successful at winning new business within new markets with requirements for sustainable packing solutions. Borough Market has remained open throughout, proving to be a vital resource for the neighbourhood and beyond, extending their produce delivery across London, as well as strengthening partnership with Plan Zheroes to ensure surplus food is distributed to local charities and those in need.
Donald and Nicole also updated Cllr Williams and Cllr Lury on how BB has supported businesses in new ways, and shared plans for innovative initiatives including the Green Logistics Centre, a micro-consolidation centre on the Low Line that will reduce freight vehicle trips in the area, a public art project launching next month and an urban realm commission that will transform pockets of open space in Bankside.