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Report

A recovery plan for the West End

The West End is London's heart, and has been resilient over centuries, but COVID-19 has struck hard. We've set out a recovery plan to help the West End recover more quickly from the pandemic.

The West End is at the heart of London’s cultural life and the UK’s global appeal. But the neighbourhood has struggled with the slowdown of commuting and tourism. Retail sales have plummeted, visitors are staying away and many of the area’s hospitality, arts and retail jobs are under threat.

Key recommendations

To help the West End recover, make it a greener, and more liveable neighbourhood and support local businesses:

  1. London boroughs should continue to help restaurants and bars to operate outdoors, particularly over winter, including through shelters and temporary street closures.
  2. Landowners should consolidate deliveries to limit disruption to businesses, visitors and residents.
  3. Transport for London should explore whether public transport could operate safely at higher capacity.
  4. The Mayor and London boroughs should expand the availability of bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters for hire beyond Zone 1.
  5. Landowners should stage weekly ‘London fringe’ events across the West End’s streets.
  6. The government should introduce culture vouchers, similar to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, to encourage audiences back to venues.
  7. London & Partners should help cultural institutions showcase London’s offer to international visitors.
  8. Landowners should introduce ‘residencies’ for artists, chefs, performers or retail brands in empty spaces at reduced prices.
  9. The government should offer ‘enterprise-zone’ style tax breaks for start-ups who move into the West End.