Last month, Westminster City Council published its City Plan for consultation, and within the ambitious strategy, we were pleased to see a number of West End wins. Throughout the London Development Plan review process, New West End Company has been promoting four key proposals to help create the best possible environment for West End retailers and property owners, and it’s great to see these acknowledged in the full plan.
We have been lobbying for the West End and Knightsbridge International Centres to be geographically defined in order to begin introducing specific national and local policies. The boundaries of these centres have now been defined in the City Plan, and so strategies can start being drawn up.
With the West End geographical area now formally recognised as having high commercial growth potential, the City Council have acknowledged that it is suitable for further large-scale retail growth than other areas. We recommended that within International Centres, all major new commercial developments should be exempt from the mandatory 35% affordable housing. With the inclusion of this recommendation in the City Plan, more commercial development can now take place to accommodate thousands more new employees across the West End without compromising the scale of their activity and operational requirements.
Our call for more flexibility in the International Centres to meet constantly changing global retail trends has also been accepted. The West End draws in unparalleled numbers of international visitors, and our proposal that developments and public realm improvements in the International Centres should be of a standard that reflects their status has also been included in the draft City Plan.
Over the next few weeks New West End Company will be seeking members’ views as we prepare our formal response to submit by July 31st. You can see the new draft City Plan at https://www.westminster.gov.uk/cityplan2040