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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 15:38 GMT
70m vision to resurrect West End
Leicester Square
The West End should not be forgotten, Westminster Council said
A 70m plan has been outlined to help London's ailing West End to recover.

Business in the area, at the heart of the city's shopping and theatre districts, is down 30% since the July bombings, Westminster Council has said.

They want to overhaul Leicester Square, Chinatown and Oxford Street, but would need funding from the government and the mayor, among others.

Council leader Simon Milton said investment is needed if London is to be worthy of hosting the 2012 Olympics.

Other proposals include improvements to Covent Garden and Theatreland, as well as making the area easier for pedestrians, cyclists, families, and disabled people.

[Oxford Street] shopping is all too often a fight not a pleasure
Geoff Pope
Lib Dems

Councillor Simon Milton added: "London's West End is an economic powerhouse, a shop window for what London has to offer in retail, leisure and entertainment and a series of residential communities."

Funding would be sought from Transport for London, the lottery, Westminster City Council, the Greater London Authority and the government among others.

But Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly think the plans should go further and include the gradual pedestrianisation of Oxford Street.

"Too often people feel put off coming to Oxford Street as they know shopping is all too often a fight not a pleasure," said spokesman Geoff Pope.

Big challenges

Research by the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group suggests the West End is set to lose 500m as international visitors stay away in the year following the bomb attacks.

People are also increasingly turning to internet and out-of-town shopping centres for their shopping.

The East End is undergoing massive regeneration ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.

"East London is there but we are facing big challenges in the West End and should not be forgotten," a Westminster spokesman said.

"This investment will cement the West End's place as one of the top destinations in the world."


SEE ALSO:
West End recovers after attacks
04 Aug 05 |  Entertainment


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