It’s always satisfying to see real change taking place that helps create the physical and commercial environment to give our businesses the best place to trade and succeed.
As we pass this year’s halfway point, I wanted to highlight some of the improvements we’ve been making over the past six months in the West End & Mayfair that have transformed not only the streets in which we work, but have contributed to giving you the best possible trading environment during these uncertain times.
Everything we do at New West End Company has one overall purpose: to help West End businesses thrive and operate more economically. We do this by attracting more customers to visit the West End, stay here longer and come back again to spend more. It’s why we work in partnership to improve the public realm, both through major projects such as the development on Bond Street, as well as day-to-day management to keep our streets safer, cleaner and more welcoming. It’s why we run international campaigns to attract overseas visitors to shop, eat and stay in the West End. It’s why we target Chinese visitors and push for a better tax-free shopping system. And it’s why we travel the world to encourage new investment into the West End & Mayfair from both property investors and global brands.
We’re also working to save you money. To combat one of the major costs to businesses in our district, our Chairman Sir Peter Rogers is leading a high-profile business rates campaign aiming for long-term reform to provide a more equitable, more affordable way of taxing businesses to help fund local government services.
Below I have highlighted some of our achievements over the past six months. We have a solid programme of activity ahead as we mark the opening of the Elizabeth line and approach our peak Christmas trading period.
Jace Tyrrell, Chief Executive
New West End Company works with partners to deliver multi-million pound upgrades to our district to make them better for visitors, employees and residents. Here’s some highlights from the past six months:
- The £10 million Bond Street public realm development is almost complete and there will be a ‘topping out’ ceremony in October with the Leader of Westminster City Council and project partners. The scheme has created a world-class environment for the shops, galleries and businesses on the street, with 60% more footway space.
- We have secured £2m funding from Westminster City Council and £1m voluntary private sector contributions to deliver the Hanover Square public realm scheme to create a new traffic-free green space outside the new Elizabeth line station.
- We have continued to represent your interests to Westminster City Council’s alternative proposals for the Oxford Street District and to keep the Mayor engaged in this process. Westminster City Council has committed to a district-wide vision and an end-to-end transformational public realm scheme that will reduce traffic and provide more pedestrian space; along with the introduction of planning policies to promote growth in the City Plan.
- We delivered a new Wild West End garden on Old Quebec Street with our partners at The Portman Estate, replacing a traffic dominated street with a tranquil place for visitors, residents and employees and have started work on possible locations for new gardens in 2019.
- The pilot Bond Street waste and recycling consolidation service delivered a reduction in waste vehicle movements on the street from 144 to nine a day.
- In Mayfair, we are excited to see the consultation on the South Molton Triangle launched by Grosvenor Estates, to address the future of the area covering Davies Street, Brook Street and South Molton Street.
Keeping our streets clean and secure is vital to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for visitors and employees. We are constantly working with our partners at Westminster City Council and the Metropolitan Police to improve the quality and scope of these services. For example, over the past six months:
- We have expanded our security team to cover the Bond Street area as well as Oxford and Regent Street areas following the extension of our BID district.
- Our Security Team dealt with a total of 3,330 criminal and anti-social behaviour incidents in the West End.
- Our Clean Team completed over 3,000 jobs.
- We have also employed an Environmental Officer to monitor street conditions throughout the entire district daily and to escalate for faster response from the relevant authorities.
- Following a series of violent moped attacks in the West End and Mayfair in June, we called a West End Crime Summit with the Tri-Borough Commander of the Metropolitan Police and a number of senior figures in the security world to agree four points of collaboration for a safer district.
To helps our businesses save money, we launched our major business rates campaign:
- We commissioned a report by Arup and Professor Tony Travers which concluded that the business rates system is not fit for purpose in a digital economy. It looked at ways both to improve it and replace it in the longer term with a more equitable tax linked to economic performance rather than property values.
- In evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on the Housing, Communities and Local Government inquiry into ‘High Streets and Town Centres 2030’ we have proposed an immediate fix to help reduce the burden on high streets. By introducing a small revenue-based tax on online businesses we could achieve a significant cut on business rates.
- Our campaign launch achieved widespread national and international media coverage across publications such as the Financial Times, Daily Mail, The Times and The Guardian. This marked the start of our lobbying campaign.
We have so far delivered the following high-profile marketing campaigns this year to bring more people into the West End:
- To help The Royal Academy of Arts celebrate its 250th anniversary, we decorated Bond and Regent Street with over 200 flags designed by Royal Academicians such as Grayson Perry and Joe Tilson to drive visitors to the streets and celebrate the diverse art offerings across our district.
- To coincide with Mayfair Art Weekend, Bond Street’s windows were transformed in July into a series of rich and diverse art installations, enhancing the district’s reputation as an art and cultural hub and attracting gallery visitors to peruse the streetscape.
- Our annual traffic-free summer event series ‘Regent Street Summer Streets’ took place on the first four Sundays in July. Working with our partners at The Crown Estate, these festival-style days promoted sustainability projects and safer city spaces through an exciting programme of street activities and in-store promotions.
- Regent Street partnered with RIBA in April to deliver its annual Windows Project, in partnership with The Crown Estate, pairing exceptional RIBA architects with Regent Street retailers to create captivating architectural installations in store windows, highlighting the ethos, purpose and identities of the brands on Regent Street.
- New West End Company and JCDecaux will launch a content channel for Oxford Street later this year across the 50 digital screens at bus shelters along the entire street, providing shoppers with real-time content to enhance the on-street experience. Following a successful test period in July, the new channel will display the latest Oxford Street news, including retailer updates, customer experiences, special events, shopper exclusives as well as live weather forecasts and posts from the Oxford Street’s Twitter feed, 2.9 million viewed impression per week.
Oxford Street launched its Confashionals social media campaign in April. Reaching over 1 million people, the campaign highlighted the benefits of shopping in store vs online, encouraging and driving users to visit Oxford Street and its unrivalled fashion offering.
- On 14 June, New West End Company helped organise One Great Day, an annual charity day that raises money for sick children at Great Ormond Street hospital at St Christopher’s Place. The day included a series of fundraising activities including its coffee morning, cycling challenges, live music and an after work tasting hour from local businesses on the streets, promoting the offerings of the neighbourhood. Thank you to all who generously donated products and experiences for this great cause.
- We secured West End and Mayfair businesses the opportunity to market with Transport for London’s £1.5m media partnership with Time Out magazine to inspire more people to visit the West End over the summer – reaching 3m people.
- All our marketing activities in the West End have been recognised and praised by advertising and branding giants WPP in their retail volume of the ‘Brand Stories from Brand Champions’ devised and curated by the renowned David Roth, CEO of WPP’s global retail practice The Store.
Our Insights team help you to understand on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis how our district is performing:
- New West End company and PwC are creating a unique in-depth package that will, for the first time, monitor and analyse visitor movement and spending throughout our district to help us fully understand our customers. This ground-breaking service is the first time anywhere in the world that businesses will have access to such targeted information about local consumers’ activities. The launch is being planned for early next year.
- We have agreed a partnership with our neighbouring BID Heart of London Business Alliance to deliver tailored footfall and sales data for the Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and St James areas.
- We are undergoing a retender process for our district-wide footfall measurement to improve this already valuable service for New West End Company businesses.
- We have partnered with CoStar, the leading provider of commercial real estate information, to begin delivering monthly insights on property and rental trends, specifically on the local office and leisure market.
- We have expanded all our services to cover our extended area of 74 streets across Mayfair and the West End delivering vital public realm improvements, robust street management and targeted marketing to attract customers, keep them here longer and draw them back again.
- Having merged with our Street Associations in April, our dedicated Associate Directors for the three key areas of our district have combined and enhanced our services and programmes.
- We welcome two new Board Members: Anna Bond, Portfolio Director, London Estate at Grosvenor Estates and Robbie Feather, Chief Executive of Fenwick