Page last updated at 09:58 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 10:58 UK

Theatreland gets colourful revamp

Artist's impression of what Shaftesbury Avenue would look like after the improvements
The lights will become brighter just before and after shows

Twinkling lights and glittering pavements are part of a 6m plan to "put the sparkle" back into central London's Theatreland.

Westminster Council is to put coloured lighting columns down Shatftesbury Avenue in the first part of the scheme.

Footpaths are being widened and made free of clutter. They are also being repaved with sparkly granite in alternating black and white.

Transport will be examined with improvements to bus routes expected.

Magical asset

In the first phase of improvements, street lights designed specifically for the area with strips of coloured LEDs running down the columns will be installed.

These will be brighter and more intense in colour just before and after shows.

The West End boasts the highest concentration of theatres in the world and they make a huge contribution to tourism and the economy
Councillor Alan Bradley

Westminster councillor Alan Bradley said: "The West End boasts the highest concentration of theatres in the world and they make a huge contribution to tourism and the economy.

"These plans will help put the sparkle back into the area and set it apart as a unique entertainment destination and an integral part of what makes the West End so special."

Richard Pulford, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre, said: "West End theatre is a magical asset, which has for too long been let down by its surroundings.

"The new initiative will ensure that the backdrop to Theatreland reflects that magic in a way that will lift the spirits of theatregoers and of the general public alike."

The society also said on Tuesday that London's theatres enjoyed their most successful year on record in 2007, with attendances exceeding 13m for the first time.

Work on Shaftesbury Avenue has already begun and should be competed by November.

Work on other streets should be completed over the next three years.

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