April update from New West End Company

Dee Corsi

Chief Executive

The London Mayoral election has been the subject of much conversation over the last few months, and with the capital set to go to the polls tomorrow, everyone is clear on what they believe the next Mayor’s priorities must be.

For most, these are unsurprisingly getting fundamentals of safety and accessibility right - particularly in the vibrant West End, where they are essential for residents, workers and visitors. Also important is ensuring that the Mayor will continue to support international tourism through investment in promotion of London overseas and supporting calls to restore tax-fee shopping.

With a General Election set to take place at some point this year, we have welcomed both the Conservative and Labour parties outlining their intentions to revitalise our high streets, in particular by taking a tougher stance on retail crime. We know that, whether they are international flagship destinations like the West End, or local shopping districts, high streets play a vital role in delivering economic value and creating communities.

The current Government intend to make assaulting a retail worker a standalone offence, and the Opposition have promised to deliver more police onto our streets to tackle anti-social behaviour and shoplifting. This is encouraging, but will have to be realised by commitments to greater police funding and recruitment.

Oxford Street’s evolution continues at pace, with coverage of the increased demand, new openings and benefits of the landmark £90 million Oxford Street Programme covered by the likes of The Times, Estates Gazette and Retail Week.

Bond Street, too, has seen its own share of exciting developments in recent weeks. Blackstone has now completed its acquisition of 130 – 134 New Bond Street, signalling the resilience of prime retail assets. Elsewhere on the street, Lazari’s plans to retrofit the former Fenwick’s building were approved by Westminster City Council, who praised the developer’s recognition of the department store’s heritage.

Development and continued investment in the West End is essential if we are to safeguard its reputation as a flagship retail, leisure and hospitality destination. With that in mind, we have responded to Westminster City Council’s City Plan Partial Review, endorsing the WPA’s assertions that the review does not support the creation of a consistently applicable retrofit policy. Should you wish to submit your own response to the City Plan Partial Review, you can do so here until 9 May.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Richard Lancaster on his appointment as New West End Company’s Head of Public Realm & Infrastructure, and Danny Sullivan on his appointment as Head of Destination Marketing. Both will be familiar faces to many of you, and we are delighted to have them join the team on a full-time, permanent basis.


On 19 April, New West End Company’s Security team partnered with the Metropolitan Police Service for Operation Juntos – a day of high visibility action in the West End, which saw joint patrols conducted along Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street. The day is part of an ongoing programme of security activity, undertaken by New West End Company and stakeholders such as the Metropolitan Police Service and Safer Business Network, across the year. It saw an increased police and security team presence across the district to aid in tackling local issues such as retail crime and provide reassurance to our West End businesses and visitors.

New West End Company worked in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service to ensure there was limited to no disruption to our district as a result of 4:20 (Cannabis Day) which took place in Hyde Park. The event passed without any notable incidents, and was supported by a proportionate policing plan, alongside an uplift in security to provide reassurance to our members.

Due to the ongoing prevalence of Pro-Palestine protests across the district and London, we have continued to produce business impact assessments, sharing these findings directly with the Metropolitan Police Service, and representing the interests of West End businesses on strategic leadership Gold calls with the Metropolitan Police Service. We have recently seen success with this approach, with marches being re-routed away from the BID as a result of evidence put forward by New West End Company and its members. If you would like to share your own impact data, to be included in future business impact assessments, please contact jamie.conroy@newwestend.com


We are preparing to launch our West End manifesto, which outline our key policy asks for both the next Mayor of London, and the national Government, grouped under three core pillars:

  • Supporting opportunity and growth – by advocating for a comprehensive reform of the business rates system, which places a disproportionate burden on larger high street retailers, and greater planning clarity to encourage investment into the West End.
  • Ensuring the West End remains safe and accessible – by tackling retail and street crime that risks the safety of retail workers and acts as a deterrent for visitors and shoppers. This would see us continue to engage with the Criminal Justice Bill and work to facilitate further Home Office operations in the West End, which have seen great success over the last twelve months.
  • Promoting the West End on the international stage – it is critical that the capital is promoted on the on the global stage, and supported by policies such as the reinstatement of tax-free shopping and a review of International Centre Status, which would boost the West End’s appeal to both tourists and investors.

We were pleased to hear that Labour has committed to a much-needed reform of the unwieldly business rates system as part of its plan for high streets, launched earlier this month. A new system must now be developed and strength tested in close consultation with businesses across the nation to ensure that it works in practice and is not yet another sticking plaster for the U.K.’s high retailers. New West End Company Chief Executive, Dee Corsi, was featured alongside spokespeople from LPA and UKHospitality, commenting on the plans in City AM.

Following tireless campaigning from Nickie Aiken MP and Westminster City Council, for which we extend our thanks, the Pedicabs (London) Bill has now received Royal Assent to become law. We look forward to working with TfL, who are now responsible for setting the scheme up, and are hopeful that the licensing will be in place by early Autumn.


On 17 April, Dee Corsi spoke at MRI Ascend, on a panel titled “Navigating Trends – the blueprint for retail resilience in 2024”, during which the value of public-private partnerships in delivering high-quality public realm provision, such as the Oxford Street Programme, and the halo effect public realm enhancements had on retail sales and shopper experience. She was joined by Kein Tan, Senior Retail Advisor, PwC; Neil Hockin, Managing Director, Lunson Mitchenall; Jenni Matthews, Marketing and Insights Director, and Tom Price, Sales Director, both from MRI.

On 30 April, Dee Corsi and Lorna Keegan, Head of Corporate Affairs, New West End Company, attended the Institute for Government event “Does London Need a New Devolution Deal” - a timely discussion topic just prior to the Mayoral election. Speakers raised the pertinent point that, with both parties seeking to drive national growth, greater devolution to the capital would spur local economic growth which would have a halo effect for the wider U.K. economy. 

Dee Corsi, Danielle Purnell, Head of Partnerships and Rich Lancaster, Head of Public Realm & Infrastructure, attended WPA’s Annual Dinner, held at the Londoner hotel in Leicester Square, and featuring a fascinating speech from Dan Snow MBE about the contributions of Westminster across the decades.

Following the success of last year’s PROUD West End exhibition, Oxford Street’s first Pride activation, New West End Company is once again hosting an interactive audio-visual exhibition of LGBTQIA+ members of the West End community. Further details of the exhibition will be available in the coming weeks.

From 30 May to 2 June, the Champions Festival – celebrating the 2024 UEFA Champions Final that is taking place in London this summer – will welcome visitors to multiple sites across central London, including Regent Street and Trafalgar Square to showcase competitive football activities, and act as a platform to promote and support local charities through football. Temporary road closures will be in effect on Regent Street from 19:00 on 29 May to 07:00 on 1 June, we will share further information in due course.




The sign-up process for the West End Club loyalty app has now been simplified, enabling new users to simply input company email address and the first part of their office or business postcode to sign up for an account. More information can be found at thewestendclub.com

New West End Company has donated a number of old laptops and mobile phones to Socialbox.biz, a community interest company that bridges the growing digital divide in the UK. Through Socialbox.biz, these will now be donated to vulnerable groups – including low income pensioners, refugees integrating into British society, and people leaving homelessness and moving into permanent housing, ensuring better outcomes with access to technology to those in need. To find out more about how your business can get involved, click here.