The West End Partnership (WEP) has unveiled the highlights of a successful first year that has seen huge progress on an extensive programme of world class initiatives to encourage investment and deliver transformative improvements in the heart of the capital. This work will ensure that the West End remains a world leading destination in the face of increasing national and international competition.
As a national asset with £51billion annual GVA, the West End generates 15% of London’s economic output and 3% of the country’s, larger than the City of London’s contribution. It is home to a series of distinct and vibrant neighbourhoods, with one of the largest and most diverse concentrations of jobs anywhere in the UK, hosting 610,000 employees. It is a magnet for tourism bringing in 31.5m international and UK visitors to London in 2015, spending £11billion, with the West End as the main attraction.
However, the West End faces fierce international competition for investment, talent and visitors. While there have been recent improvements to the West End’s infrastructure, further development is planned to effectively accommodate the pressures caused by growth. The partnership was created to coordinate work, encourage investment and act as ‘one voice’ for the area.
The West End Partnership last year launched a 15-year vision and delivery plan to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing the West End. The partnership’s first annual report, published on 15 June, outlines several plans that are underway across an area from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road and Euston to Aldwych. The aim is to encourage investment and jobs and create the new work places needed to accommodate them; deliver transformative improvements to the public realm; capture the benefits of Crossrail 1 and 2; reduce traffic and improve air quality. Several infrastructures improvements such as those to transform Baker Street, Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street are due to start in the next few months.
Cllr Philippa Roe, Leader of Westminster City Council and Chair of the West End Partnership, said: “As we build on the significant progress made in the past twelve months, we will continue to make our case for funding, alongside the deeper collaboration required from all tiers of government and the private sector to deliver the partnership’s bold vision. Together, we will secure the West End’s future as an economic powerhouse, iconic destination and great place in which to live and work.”
Peter Vernon, Chief Executive of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Board Director of London First and Vice-Chairman of the West End Partnership, said: “A genuine coalition has formed to unleash the West End’s potential. There is still much to do, but we have for the first time a compelling vision for growth with the right partnership to deliver it. There is no fundamental trade-off between economic growth, the creation of new jobs and enterprises, and a better experience for those who live and work in the West End.”