Retailers from the West End area of London have put traffic congestion at the top of their priorities for the winner of the capital’s Mayoral contest next year.
The New West End Company, a pressure group which represents businesses located on Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street, has put forward a Mayoral Manifesto at its AGM today.
A review from the Transport Commission to look at reducing the 450 buses an hour which pass through the area is top of the organisation’s hit-list, and it has also suggested that traffic-free days or temporary pedestrianisation could be tried on the consumer-heavy streets.
Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, Chairman of New West End Company, said: “Issues of traffic congestion can have an effect on West End visitor numbers, issues which two consecutive Mayors have made progress in addressing but more needs to be done.
“73 per cent of shoppers in a recent West End survey cited traffic congestion as the number one issue affecting the West End with the majority in support of more traffic-free shopping days.
“Tackling these priorities could prove to be the deciding factor in the Mayoral elections in May 2012. Other cities around the world have dealt with their traffic congestion such as Shanghai, Tokyo and New York – London can do the same.”
Both incumbent Mayor Boris Johnson and his challenger and previous holder of the office Ken Livingston have backed schemes to support cyclists and cut emissions and car traffic in London over the past decade but the New West End Company wants to see more done.
Other priorities for the group include a crackdown on crime, protests and litter in the area, continued political support, assurances that disruption from the Crossrail transport development is minimal and continued investment in regenerating parts of the West End.
Mayhew Jonas added: “This week, we have sent the West End Mayoral Manifesto to all candidates and I would be delighted to meet them individually to discuss the issues that West End businesses need the next Mayor to address.
“London’s West End is a key component of the capital’s economic prosperity, generating over £6 billion of income annually and employing over 100,000 people.”