The West End is the jewel in the crown of a great world city, but the district's very success brings with it huge issues. This collection of essays explore some of the challenges facing the district, and sets out ideas on how to address them.
Featuring forewords by Mayor Sadiq Khan and Cllr, The Baroness Couttie, Leader of Westminster Council, this publication brings together a number of influential contributors including Tony Travers, Peter Murray and Alexandra Jones.
Together, the essays highlight that The West End is facing some huge challenges:
- West End businesses: Bond, Oxford and Regent Street businesses are facing an additional £125m in business rates in six months time, an average increase of 80% in some cases. This could cost retailers up to 25% in profits which limits their capacity to employ staff and invest both in London and around the UK.
- Extreme overcrowding and pollution: Crossrail is set to deliver 120,000 additional people into the area every day.
- Businesses being priced out of the area: Prime office rents reached £120 per sq ft in Mayfair/St James’s, almost twice the cost of rents in the City. For a small business of 50 employees, that translates into about £600,000 per annum – and closer to £1m if business rates are included.
- Safety concerns: In the year to September 2015, Westminster recorded an average of 22 crimes per 100 residents compared to just nine per 100 across the capital as a whole.
- A rising number of homeless people: Compared with a wider London average of 0.27 (per 1,000 inhabitants), Westminster has a rough sleeping rate of 2.38 (per 1,000 inhabitants).