Chancery Lane has a rich historic character. In the 13th century, the Inns of Chancery became the centre of the legal profession in London.
The continued importance of the area is demonstrated by the presence of listed buildings and institutions such as the Public Records Office, The Law Society, Great Seal Patent Office, Chancery House, The Silver Vaults, Royal Courts of Justice and King's College.
While such features of the existing streetscape already represent this history, the current walkways and spaces need improvements and enhancements.
Because of its historical importance and location close to a number of prominent destinations in Central London, the Chancery Lane area currently accommodates a large number of workers, visitors, and local residents.
Streets in the area are particularly busy during business hours, especially at the lunch time peak. The area's popularity generates high footfall. This combined with narrow footpaths forces many pedestrians onto the road which means the area's vitality and vibrancy is compromised as pedestrians and vehicles compete for limited space.
In 2005 the CLA commissioned Burns + Nice to produce a Strategic Development Plan for the "Chancery Lane Area". The primary research area was bounded by Lincoln's Inn to the west, High Holborn to the north, Furnival Street to the east and Fleet Street/Strand to the south. The wider study area encompassed Lincoln's Inn Fields, the London School of Economics on the western side, New Fetter Lane to the east and to the south St Clement Danes Church on Strand.
The resulting Plan became the basis of a public exhibition in December 2005 where the views of the general public were sought.
Subsequently the City of London made an approach to Transport for London for funding for further evaluation of the proposals. This was approved in November 2007 and since then further detailed analysis has taken place leading to the production of the Chancery Lane Area Enhancement Scheme document in March 2009. There followed a public consultation exercise that ran from 19 March to 17 April 2009.
Since that date there has been the creation of a new public space area along Chancery Lane, the widening and repaving of footpaths, an exercise to declutter the street and the resurfacing of the highway. More exciting works are anticipated in the period ahead.
The main objective of the Chancery Lane Area Enhancement Scheme is to create a high quality street environment that makes the area more pleasant and easy to use for workers, residents and visitors to the area. Cycling and walking will be more convenient as public highways and open spaces are better connected and easier to use through a series of street enhancements. These improvements will build upon the unique character of the Chancery Lane area as the City's legal quarter, emphasising its rich architectural and cultural heritage and encouraging its growing retail and leisure facilities.