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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 129 - Getting businesses involved

129 - The Waterloo Quarter Business Alliance (WQBA)

The Waterloo Quarter Business Alliance (WQBA) is the Business Improvement District (BID) based in the historic retail area immediately south of Waterloo Station, separated from the bustling South Bank by victorian railway viaducts and the Grimshaw Eurostar terminal. Once a thriving shopping district with a street market over one mile in length, the area has declined through post war planning that interrupted pedestrian connections, demographic changes and a lack of investment in upkeep of the urban fabric in one of inner London’s poorest boroughs.

The BID has set about reversing this decline by strategically focusing investment over a sustained period to enable retailers to prosper and to help the many offices in Waterloo to retain staff in London’s competitive job market. Being based locally means BID staff work well not only with their members, but with other community organisations in Waterloo, ensuring coordinated local action. Physical improvements are being tackled both at surface and at strategic level. Having started with quick wins removing graffiti, cleaning streets, and introducing more greenery, WQBA is now actively engaged in delivering new public open spaces connected by wider pavements, sheep pen style road crossings are being replaced by direct crossings, new squares have been designed with support of the local community and funding for delivery is being found through section 106 funds and borough spending-plan money.

Other Information

  • Location: London Borough of Lambeth
  • Project Team: Key partners: Waterloo Quarter Business Alliance (WQBA)
  • Contact: 


UDC2 Section - Managing Quality Placesace 

The WQBA BID is leading the work to transform Emma Cons Gardens, a key public space in Waterloo, into a high-quality plaza with improved landscaping, lighting and street furniture

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