In 2002, the Trust re-established its partnership with Camden, this time working with Shaftesbury PLC who had become the area’s main freeholder. Monmouth Street was chosen as the next thoroughfare for improvement. A major change to the earlier template was the use of dressed setts (flat cobbles) which have numerous advantages over raised ones, including less vehicular noise and an easier walking surface for pedestrians. This format proved extremely popular with both residents and retailers and has been visited by officers from many other local authorities.
Tim Long and David Jenkins from Camden devised and oversaw this scheme, making refinements to an earlier template. The scheme was part of the ‘Clear Zones’ project, which aimed to improve the public realm and pedestrian movement in Central London. Camden added to the overall street furniture harmonisation by providing new litter bins bearing the parish crest. The total cost of the scheme was £720,000 which was covered by a number of S.106 planning gain funds, matched by Shaftesbury PLC via a donation to the Trust.
Monmouth Street has won four awards (Camden Design Awards, 2006, helped Camden to Borough of the Year and Partnership of the Year 2007 for walking and public realm, and the Royal Town Planning Institute / Transport Planning Network Award, 2008). The Monmouth Street template has been copied throughout the West End and has become the standard template for the Covent Garden Area, adopted by Westminster City Council in their ‘Westminster Way’ and used by Capco in King Street and TfL in Shaftesbury Avenue.
After the work had been carried out, numerous problems arose, compounded by Thames Water's Victorian Mains Replacement Proramme, where the Trust queried their reinstatement proposals from the outset. The Trust is currently discussing with Camden how to resolve these problems.