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Hip To Be Square Mile As Plans Unveiled For New London Culture Hub

London’s Square Mile is known for being full of fast-moving finance workers and slow-moving traffic during the week, but hauntingly deserted at weekends.

However, that could change if an initiative to create a cultural destination in the heart of the City is successful.

Plans were unveiled on Thursday for the “culture mile”, a 10 to 15-year initiative to transform the area between Farringdon and Moorgate.

Catherine McGuinness, the chairman of the policy and resources committee at the City of London Corporation, said the ambition was to make the Square Mile as well known for culture as finance.

“This is a transformational plan. We are at the start of a journey, but what more important time is there than [now], in the face of Brexit, to send a really strong signal that London is and always will be an open and resolutely internationalist city,” she said.

At the centre of the plans are three major building projects: the new Museum of London at West Smithfield, a proposed concert hall for Simon Rattle’s London Symphony Orchestra and a transformation of Beech Street, the tunnel that runs under the Barbican.

Sharon Ament, the director of the Museum of London, said holding outdoor events seven days a week would be important to the initiative’s success. “If you’ve walked through some parts of this area at the weekend, you will realize that it is not throbbing and bustling ... We want to change that,” she said.

One factor spurring the plan is the scheduled opening of Crossrail stations at Farringdon and Moorgate in December 2018, making it easier and quicker to travel into the City.

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