Theatre chiefs lead inquiry aimed at improving West End

West End representatives, including theatre leaders, have called for submissions of evidence from local businesses and stakeholders about the problems affecting the area, as part of a newly formed panel that will address the workings of London’s entertainment district.

The West End Commission, formed of 12 representatives from local businesses, entertainment bodies, transport companies and academic backgrounds will look into issues including transport, infrastructure, city management, safety and the promotion of business and visitor needs.

The group, which includes Society of London Theatre chief executive Julian Bird, performing arts promoter Harvey Goldsmith and Hippodrome Casino chairman Simon Thomas, will consider the evidence at monthly meetings beginning in October. Chaired by Manchester City Council chief executive Howard Bernstein, the WEC met for the first time earlier this month.

By drawing on the experience of its commissioners and holding public evidence sessions, the WEC says it hopes to develop a blueprint for the success of the West End.

Bernstein recently met with businesses representatives, residents and the police to tour the area to see the challenges involved.

He said: “The WEC is all about planning an exciting and sustainable future for all the constituent parts that make this area unique – from the businesses to residents, public bodies, voluntary groups, the entertainment industry and transportation. We are moving forward with that by holding public evidence sessions from those with a view on how the West End should be run, and what it needs to prosper.

“There are exciting projects we can all work on and benefit from, for example expanding WiFi coverage to make the West End a truly digital city.”

The independent inquiry was launched in January by Westminster City Council’s cabinet. All submissions of evidence must be made by October 1, and preliminary documents for verbal submissions by September 14, through the WEC website, westendcommission.com.

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