Suggestions For Improving The West End

By Rob Last edited 160 months ago
Suggestions For Improving The West End

The body which represents West End retailers has made public its plans to improve the area by cutting traffic and creating more pedestrian areas.

The New West End Company unveiled its 'stretegic study' called Choices for a Better West End (PDF) at the end of last week at an exhibition in John Lewis on Oxford Street.

The exhibition (which is free and runs until the 18th) outlines "innovative and exciting ideas on how the West End could be transformed. It identifies that change is needed to re-assert London’s West End as a world-class shopping and leisure destination," and "indicates the importance of the West End as a destination of choice, not a thoroughfare and highlights the need for a better balance between people and traffic."

All of which is just so much managment speak. So it's over to the FT who are normally pretty good at deciphering this sort of thing.

The proposals for the West End, made public yesterday as part of a week-long consultation process, include cutting the number of bus routes passing through Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street from 24 to two and turning the areas around Marble Arch and Piccadilly Circus into pedestrianised squares.

The New West End Company, which represents West End retailers, also wants to ban general traffic and put more taxi ranks into Oxford Street. The aim is to make the West End a more relaxing and attractive place to shop.

Just two bus routes through Oxford Circus? That's going to cause a bit of upset in people who've been told they need to start using more public transport. And what does Ken 'buses are the answer to everything' Livingstone have to say about all this?

I am pleased that the West End is receiving the attention it deserves. Its future is critical not only to the capital, but to the whole of the UK economy. This study is a welcome contribution to the debate. We look forward to working with New West End Company to enhance the area and make sure it holds its own with the other premier shopping areas in the world.

Pretty non-commital then. And in fact the Chief Executive of the New West End Company himself doesn't seem too thrilled with his own ideas either: "The aim here is not to present a series of proposals. The suggestions that are on display could happen, but what is really important is that they spark a public debate that leads to something happening; a debate we warmly invite you to take part it. Doing nothing is not an option.”

So they're not proposals...they're suggestions. Now we're confused.

Last Updated 14 November 2005