The lobby group behind London’s West End has unveiled plans to launch a new business improvement district (BID) run by the area’s landlords to oversee £16m of investment into the area.
The New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses around Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street, is already a BID itself but funded only by retailers and other occupiers in the area.
It now wants create a separate committee represented and funded by property firms such as the Crown Estate, Grosvenor and Aviva, with the aim of improving London’s busiest shopping thoroughfare, boosting commercial returns, and encouraging further investment.
NWEC’s deputy chief executive, Jace Tyrrell, told City A.M. the organisation would be modelled on New York, which has over 72 BIDs, which annually invest more than $100m (£65m) in improving services in neighbourhoods across the city.
“Property owners are an essential component of a successful West End, so it is high time that their interests are better represented in the debates over the future of one of the UK’s most powerful economic powerhouses,” he said.
The NWEC has today released a business plan for the BID, which will be launched at the beginning next year provided that landlords vote in favour of the move at a formal ballot in December.
It plans to raise £15.9m in funds, which it then plans to invest over the next five years in projects including a £10.5m overhaul of Bond Street in partnership with Westminster council.
“We would also like to see Oxford Street transformed over the few years ahead of Crossrail. We do not want a complete pedestrianisation of the street but we want a reduction of traffic of around 20 per cent year on year and additional traffic free days, for example,” Tyrrell said.
The Crown Estate’s David Shaw OBE urged property owners to back the proposal: “The track record of New West End Company’s success since its inception in 2002 is clear. The Crown Estate was a founder member of New West End Company and as the largest landowner in the area is wholly behind the Property Owners BID. All landowners stand to benefit from the BID and we urge them to follow our lead and support the ballot”.