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West End to get £34m investment

The West End of London is set to receive a cash injection of £34 million over the next five years to help reduce congestion, improve signage and push forward the Mayor’s proposals for a new transit network on Oxford Street.

The New West End Company has revealed its business plan for the five years to 2013, which has been backed by retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Arcadia, John Lewis, Debenhams, Austin Reed, Selfridges and Hamleys.

Under the plan, a £17 million investment by retailers and property owners will be matched by the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to make up £34 million.

The Mayor is considering introducing a new bus or tram transit network for Oxford Street. Marketing will also increase to include a West End shoppers’ magazine and TV advertising, alongside improved Christmas lights and further traffic-free events.

Many West End retailers have come out in support of the business plan. Arcadia boss Philip Green said: “My vision for the West End is focused on innovation in transport, an inspiring public realm and the best mix of retail and leisure anywhere in the world. New West End Company is one of the key drivers to make this happen.”

John Lewis chairman Charlie Mayfield said: “New West End Company has established an excellent platform for inward investment and is delivering meaningful change. It is to be congratulated on achieving such tremendous results.”

The investment will also be used to progress Westminster City Council’s recommendations for Oxford, Regent and Bond Street, set out in the ORB Action Plan, published in March.

The plan proposes reducing traffic, widening pavements and adding new street lighting, as well as working with property owners to smarten up the tatty east side of Oxford Street.

Source: Retail Week