Lon­don’s West End needs help get­ting vis­i­tor foot­fall nearer to nor­mal lev­els

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business -

◆ Vis­i­tors have been slow to re­turn to the key parts of the West End even as lock­down re­stric­tions ease – spark­ing fears of the demise of the cul­tural heart­land, writes Rachel Mil­lard.

There has been a 10pc in­crease in vis­i­tor num­bers to the area cov­er­ing Le­ices­ter Square, Pic­cadilly and St James’s since Aug 1 when work­ers were en­cour­aged back to the of­fice. But with the­atres still closed and many work­ers not yet re­turn­ing, foot­fall re­mains 65pc down on last year.

The Heart of Lon­don Busi­ness Al­liance, which rep­re­sents 500 ma­jor busi­nesses and 100 prop­erty own­ers in the area, in­clud­ing Her Majesty’s The­atre, Fort­num & Ma­son, the Ritz ho­tel and the Na­tional Gallery, says the Gov­ern­ment needs to do far more to en­cour­age peo­ple back out.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Ros Mor­gan said: “It is only with this in­crease in num­bers that it will be vi­able for shops, cafés and cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions to re­open.

“Spend­ing time in Lon­don in­volves a rich va­ri­ety of ex­pe­ri­ences with many peo­ple who work in cen­tral Lon­don then spend­ing the evening un­wind­ing in the West End.”

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