A leading London politician says London’s West End is set to become the heart of the capital’s economy, taking over the top spot from The City. What is fueling this growth in the West End and how can it impact on other the rest of the capital?
The West End is busy. No one can doubt that. From shopping hubs to theatres, squares, bars, restaurants, cinemas, offices; you name it, the West End has got it – and it’s usually full to bursting. But when people have considered where the economic powerhouse is in London, inevitably they have thought of The City. Home to the major international industry giants, surely a bit of arts and culture can’t beat that? In fact it could very well Phillippa Roe, the leader of Westminster Council claims the West End reflects the cultural diversity of London’s economy, it is growing and adding more big names and we shouldn’t always think about the financial sector when we look to growth and power.
The facts first. In the West End there are three times as many firms, there are more start-ups and around 180,000 more employees than there are in the City. More people means greater spend and more start-ups means a more sustainable home-grown economy. The West End is also more productive. According to figures it produced £34billion in gross value each year, three billion more than The City. 36,000 people live in the West End. The City has a more transient population so it doesn’t have this advantage.
So it is making money and growing but why is the West End never spoken of by the same powerful investors as The City is. Is it because we give greater credence to the economy created by financial services? Post economic crisis perhaps this is something we should reconsider, as the PR for financial firms within the sector aren’t favourable among the public.
To articulate this challenge the West End Partnership has been established. Bringing together politicians and residents the aim of the group is to create a powerful voice for the area, helping it to attract even more investment and also to help it lobby of major policies and legislation making it easier for people to do business there – like business rates for example.
The West End already attracts many international firms to its streets, like the designers on Savile Row, international stores as well as film and theatre producers which help to attract millions of visitors each year. The areas burgeoning digital and creative industry is building on its publishing profile creating real sector strength. Even bigger powerhouses like Saatchi and Saatchi, as well as Havas are expected to move into the West End, further increasing its profile and reach.
With a wide range of one, two and three bedroom serviced apartments in Holborn in the heart of the West End – as well as one and two bedroom apartments in Covent Garden – Clarendon’s serviced apartments see the when neighbourhood is doing well. The growth in popularity of travellers looking for short term and extended stay accommodation in the West End reveals how it is increasingly seen as a destination for business. The need to expand the growing area because its popularity is well recognised. It’s only a matter of time before the West End becomes the hub of London