Making Ilford a 'destination of choice': What is being done to help the town centre thrive?

The project is part of town centre regeneration. Picture: Ken Mears

Ilford High Road - Credit: Archant

Ilford could soon become outer London’s leading metropolitan centre.

That is the message from Ilford Business Improvement District (BID), which has invested £400,000 into the town centre each year since it was set up 13 years ago. 

Cyril Bekoe, BID manager, said: “We invest the money into developing and marketing Ilford as a destination of choice, a place where businesses can come to thrive, a place where people can come and discover new experiences and a place for people to live.”

The BID has been actively working to make Ilford a safer place, to encourage more visitors and more of a turnover in the town.

“We deploy two security personnel that are operating in the town centre, seven days a week, and they are offering a welcoming environment to visitors who need support with wayfinding and just questions about the area," Cyril said.

"Businesses feel the support in terms of helping them manage any antisocial behaviour.”

Ilford is home to large retailers and chain restaurants, including Starbucks, H&M and Wendy’s - which opened on May 19.

The franchise opened again in the UK last summer after closing for 20 years, and Ilford is one of seven stores operating nationwide.

With the opening of the long-awaited Elizabeth line on May 24, Ilford has now become a stop on a direct route to central London; a journey that takes less than 20 minutes.

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Cyril added: “The close proximity of having travel from central London into Ilford will make it a destination where people will start buying property, so they can easily commute to work, but also change the demographic of people moving in.

“Ilford is a place already celebrated for its diversity, so we’re going to see even more of a thriving community with a diverse background, just coming together and sharing ideas just to drive the population forward.”

He expects the refurbishment of Ilford station, which is due to open up later this month, to bring many more visitors to the area as well.

The BID has also been making efforts to embrace and promote nature in the town by distributing plants and greenery around the centre.