Fashion retailers could stage regular catwalk shows in the middle of Bond Street under plans to reduce traffic and entice more shoppers to London’s West End.
The New West End Company (NWEC), which represents retailers in the area, this week unveiled its blueprint to drive the capital’s shopping mecca forward. Its targets include a 66% boost in annual shopper spend to £10bn by 2020 and attracting an additional 50 million visitors a year. The eastern end of Oxford Street is a particular priority.
Plans include new diagonal crossings at the junction with Tottenham Court Road and fast and slow lanes for pedestrians to ease congestion.
In addition, NWEC plans to provide 50% more capacity for shoppers by 2020, which it said could include a new mode of transport, a dedicated bus route or widening of pavements. By 2015 it wants to introduce dedicated ‘shopping hours’ between 10am and 4pm, when there will be 40% less traffic, and potentially to close Bond Street to traffic between certain hours. The road space would then be used for events such as fashion shows.
Bond Street, Mount Street, Jermyn Street and Savile Row were this month grouped into a new district called the Luxury Quarter, which will focus on attracting international retailers to open European flagship stores in the West End, aiming to secure an additional 21 by 2012. According to Colliers, the target would make London the foremost shopping city in the world, measured by international retailers represented there. Currently it is second only to New York.