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New West End Company spells out retail manifesto

New West End Company (NWEC) has launched a manifesto in a bid to win backing from London’s mayoral candidates for improvements to central London’s retail environment.

The proposal urges the candidates to support a 10-step plan to improve the area including reducing the number of buses, meeting EU emission standards, recognising the importance of the West End to London as a whole, driving down crime, minimising disruption caused by the Crossrail development and ensuring there is a positive legacy for the West End from the 2012 Olympics.

Speaking at the launch event, held as part of NWEC’s AGM, the organisation’s chairman Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas said: “We are seeking the mayoral candidates’ help to encourage investment and promote the West End.”

She added it was vital that all the interested groups – businesses, property owners and commuters – were taken into account.

“We have had useful incremental change but now it’s time to think strategically,” she said.

Also speaking at the event was Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance in New York, who oversaw a similar project in the US city which has rejuvenated Times Square by re-routing traffic, creating more pedestrianised areas and investing in encouraging retailers back to the area.  

Also at the AGM, Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council and owner of Jaeger and Aquascutum, was appointed to the NWEC strategy board.

Tillman called for more traffic-free days in the West End. “They bring a very much-needed stimulus and I would like to see them happen much more regularly,” he said.

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