How we work
How we work
– to protect and promote the interests of those who live and work in Covent Garden.
Please note that information below relates to operations before the Covid-19 pandemic. Regular meetings are not taking place, but work continues via email, telephone calls and virtual meetings of smaller groups.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us using details on each committee page.
The CGCA’s work is driven by its Executive committee. Elected representatives from across Covent Garden meet regularly to review key activities and decisions. The most active members – including the officers of the Association – meet, correspond and speak every few days to deal with day-to-day issues and decisions.
Much of the work is done by CGCA’s subcommittees, of which the Planning subcommittee and the Licensing subcommittee consistently have the highest workload.
The Planning subcommittee responds to local planning applications as the amenity society for both boroughs in a fortnightly batch following each meeting. It offers pre-application discussions to developers on key sites, dealing with everything from servicing plans to architecture. Its members drive campaigns and attend council meetings. The subcommittee contributes to local authority policy revisions in both boroughs, and legislative revisions by central government.
The Licensing subcommittee manages licensing representations on a weekly basis, negotiations with applicants and attending hearings on a monthly basis in both boroughs. Its members are involved in appeals and reviews. The subcommittee contributes to local authority policy revisions in both boroughs, and legislative revisions by central government.
On Policing and Community Safety, we work directly with police and agencies in both boroughs, and take part in police safer neighbourhood team panels.
On the Public Realm, we work with commercial and public sector interests on visionary elements such as Earlham Street Market, New Row and those dealt with by the Covent Garden Area Plan steering groups. We also deal day-to-day with small elements such as trees, lighting and obstructions.
Other environmental activities include passion for our open spaces, and work on issues such as traffic (eg: the West End Project), noise, pollution and refuse collections.
We also respond to legislative consultations in other areas of our experience, and work pro-actively with our MPs and local councillors on wider policy matters (eg: short lets, night tube). We are represented on the West End Partnership Board, looking at the long-term strategy for the heart of our city where so many interests compete and where today’s decisions on everything from deliveries to air quality will affect a generation.
Happily, we bring local people together not just to fight battles, but for annual community events, such as the Summer Street Festival, our stall at the May Fayre, and the Christmas Community Carol Service attended by hundreds of local people of all backgrounds.
In order to be effective at grass-roots level and to represent of our community’s views, we gather feedback and disseminate information through local people. Much of this is done via the many tenants’ and residents’ associations that were encouraged and established by the CGCA during the 1970’s, in response to the threat of wholesale demolition of the area. Most represent the larger blocks of flats, which now house a mix of social and private tenants and owners. Their support is invaluable. We also work through ‘street reps’ and ‘block reps’ where there is no formal residents’ association.
The CGCA works closely with its peers, including the other amenity groups in Covent Garden and in neighbouring areas. This co-operation is critical when dealing with large development applications, traffic management schemes, local and national policy changes, the provision of facilities and, not least, celebrations of all kinds. Some of our key partners are shown below. Neighbouring groups with which the CGCA works include the Soho Society, the Bloomsbury Association and the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association.
The CGCA is a member of the West End Community Network of amenity societies, the Westminster Amenity Societies Forum and the London Forum of Civic and Amenity societies.
The Covent Garden Area Trust (CGAT) is a registered charity set up in 1988 to conserve the historic architecture, environment and special, unique qualities of the 97-acre Covent Garden, following the abolition of the Greater London Council, which owned much of the land. Following extensive negotiations led by the CGCA, the CGAT was granted an 150-year lease giving specific powers and duties over the “Covent Garden Protected Lands” (the Central Market, 25-31 James Street, 7, 9 & 10 Floral Street, Bedford Chambers and Cubitts Yard and the Museums Block). The Trust receives ground rent on this land. Throughout several changes of freeholder, the Trust has retained its element of control over developments and is ever vigilant in its conservationist role.
Seven Dials, in the north west of Covent Garden, was laid out in 1693 by Sir Thomas Neale. With its seven streets radiating from a central focal point, it is unique in London and is at the heart of one of our two Conservation Areas. The Seven Dials Trust has worked in partnership with the local authorities and the private sector for over 30 years to drive complex long-term public realm projects to completion, including re-instating the lost Seven Dials Sundial Pillar (which it owns). Its recent projects are the design and installation of facade mounted lighting throughout the area, bespoke street name plates and street history plaques. The Seven Dials Trust is a registered charity, managed by a voluntary body of trustees.
Covent Garden Community Centre / Seven Dials Club
The Covent Garden Community Centre’s Seven Dials Club sits at the heart of the area – with a long history, a local focus and a desire to help members make connections, expand their circles and have more fun. It is all about Covent Garden, past, present and future. Membership is open to people who live, study or work in the area. Revenue from room hire and events that are open to the public supports a programme of community-based activities.
Dragon Hall Trust is a registered charity supporting young people, residents, business and community groups in Covent Garden and Holborn. It offers social, educational and recreational activities, giving everyone the opportunity to learn, play and explore. Current activities include 3D printing, using virtual reality headsets, coding, augmented reality programming, app design, radio production, sport and dance classes, access training and business development. To support this work the Trust offers a range of commercial services including room hire and business training facilities.