Plans released by the largest commercial group in the West End to steer a path to recovery when the lockdown is eased show it to be completely out of touch with the stark reality facing London.

New West End Company values parking.
A “sustainable reopening and recovery of our district”. They don’t appear to be kidding.

In a week when Westminster council were approving more ambitious plans to tackle air pollution and encouraging a modal-shift from private car use, and the Mayor of London was issuing warnings about London being clogged with too many cars, the New West End Company were doing the complete opposite.

Launching a document about re-opening the West End, the business group — which represents Oxford Street, Regent Street and New Bond Street — calls for the continued suspension of the congestion charge, discounted parking rates, more parking space, and opening up the airports.

Not content with the usual restrictions on Sunday trading — when drivers flock to park outside of controlled parking hours in the West End — they also want to extend Sunday opening hours and want government to grant greater flexibility in planning controls, both of which they were lobbying for since before the Covid-19 crisis.

They are calling it — without any hint of irony — a “sustainable reopening and recovery” plan. I don’t think they can be trusted. You can read it here (pdf).

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