Westminster City Council has hailed the number of new office developments in the West End as “great news for businesses” in the area.
The West End is best known as London’s number one shopping destination, along with its selection of theatres, pubs and clubs, but The Crane Survey has found an increase in the number of new office developments. The half-yearly report found more commercial building projects were under way in the West End than at any point in the last two years.
A total of 2.3 million sq ft of office floorspace is now in the pipeline for the area, while nine per cent of the current space available is considered Grade A quality.
Westminster City Council cabinet member for housing and corporate property Cllr Jonathan Glanz said: “This is great news for businesses in West End, and for Westminster in general. In tough times this shows the endeavour, hard work and entrepreneurship of workers and business in this area will help us to continue to buck the national trend.
“As a council we must however ensure that all developers are sensitive to the needs and wishes of local residents as any construction work take place. We want to ensure that Westminster is a great place to live as well as to work.”
Oxford Street project Park House is one of several schemes due to be completed in 2012, while the report’s author, Drivers Jonas Deloitte, are confident new projects will be announced in the new year.
Westminster City Council has been keen to emphasise the role it has played in supporting local businesses, despite recent criticism over plans to introduce parking charges in the evenings and on Sunday in the West End.
The council said its City Recovery Programme has offered support to a number of small businesses in the city battling to survive, while its Manifesto for Business includes a number of commitments which local companies can hold the local authority to account for. The West End Partnership, chaired by the cabinet member for enterprise, has created events such as the Trafalgar Square Maze, which has attracted audiences from China and the US, the council said.
Micro-businesses, start-ups and social enterprises have also been helped by the new Hub Westminster facilities in Piccadilly, allowing firms to base themselves in the heart of London at an affordable rate, according to the council.