2016 has been an extraordinary year of change.
Against a backdrop of major global events, Brexit and a new Mayor, London’s West End has continued to demonstrate its resilience and its allure. For New West End Company, our focus has been on driving retail trade, enhancing asset values and acting as an influential business voice to represent your interests and deliver on our 2020 plan.
The entire team at New West End Company thanks you, our members and our partners, for your ongoing support and wishes you a prosperous year ahead.
IMPROVING THE WEST END’S AIR QUALITY
We have engaged with the new Mayor of London and his administration on tackling London’s air quality and we’ve been at the forefront of shaping solutions with businesses to reduce traffic congestion. In June, we launched our Air Quality Strategy, the UK’s first business-led scheme to improve the West End’s air quality. As a result, we’ve already reduced waste collection vehicles by 75% in Bond Street with plans to roll out more widely across our district in 2017.
As a Board member of the West End Partnership, the Chairman and I have actively engaged with the Mayor of London, Transport for London and Westminster City Council on proposals to radically reduce the number of buses across the West End ahead of the Elizabeth line opening, which will reduce congestion, improve air quality and encourage greater investment into London’s retail heartland.
Our 11 traffic-free events on Oxford Street and Regent Street (delivered with our partners the Regent Street Association and The Crown Estate) brought over 8 million additional visitors to the West End 2016, a 5.3% increase from last year’s events. One million of those visitors came for the Oxford Street Christmas lights event with NSPCC, driving a sales uplift of 8-15% compared to last year.
ATTRACTING TOURISM SPEND
In 2016, we welcomed more high value visitors to London’s West End than ever before and strengthened our tourism links with China, US and the Middle East. ‘By Appointment’, our bespoke service providing curated experiences across London Luxury Quarter, brought in over £500,000 of direct spend into member businesses.
One year into our Property Owner BID, our inward investment strategy is underway and we’ve taken the West End investment opportunity to key retail real estate forums including MAPIC in Cannes, ICSC Dealmakers in New York and MIPIM Asia, with over £1m in media coverage generated in leading industry publications.
ADVOCACY & CAMPAIGNS
We’ve campaigned on issues to benefit the trading environment in the West End, from removing barriers to entry for international visitors through the UK China Visitor Alliance, to lobbying government for mitigating measures against business rates rises. Our business rates campaign has saved retailers in Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street £10 million over the next five years, compared with the Government’s original proposal. We will continue to lead a London-wide campaign seeking fundamental reform to the business rates model and seek greater retention of rates locally to drive economic growth in our area.
MEDIA & MEMBERSHIP ENGAGEMENT
As a leading commentator on West End business, we’ve featured in over 500 media articles this year, with a reach of over 30m and a value of over £25m. As a team, we’ve visited 300 store managers in the last six months to provide trading data and outline our member services.
Our B2B app which gives members 24/7 access to footfall and sales data, together with our key contacts for the Welcome Ambassadors, Clean Team and Security Team, has been downloaded 430 times.
BOND STREET PUBLIC REALM PROJECT
After securing £10m in funding and conducting extensive consultation with business, the Bond Street Public Improvement Plan is set to commence early in the New Year. This landmark scheme will rejuvenate Bond Street to deliver a vastly improved experience and public realm upgrade to benefit businesses in the area, attracting more clients and greater investment into Bond Street over the next decade.
As 2016 draws to a close, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and here’s to a successful West End in 2017.