London's West End needs 'better governance and transport'

Buses in London's West End
Image caption London's West End attracts over 200 million visitors a year, according to the Commission

London's West End should have an extended weekend Underground service, a fleet of electric buses and more traffic-free days, says a new report.

The West End Commission, an independent body set up by Westminster City Council in 2012, spent six months gathering recommendations for the area's future.

The report also suggests a "new governance model" for the West End.

Sir Howard Bernstein, the commission's chairman, says a "radical reform programme" needs to be put in place.

The report calls for a new West End partnership, including a senior executive position, to address issues such as Crossrail - the new railway connecting London and the South East - and to develop a vision for a greener economy.

Other recommendations include the London Underground running later on Friday and Saturday nights, and the implementation of a 24-hour Crossrail.

A "small network" of zero-emission buses are also suggested, and traffic-free days in the West End similar to the Summer Streets scheme in New York.

The commission found that "an integrated approach to neighbourhood policing" is required for the West End, which has almost as many reported crimes as there are in the city centres of Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Birmingham combined.

Councillor Philippa Roe, leader of Westminster City Council, welcomed the report's proposals for "a strengthened partnership" involving the Mayor, police, TfL and businesses.

She added that the "particular funding challenges around managing the global nature of the West End should be recognised by both central government and the Mayor rather than simply falling on the taxpayers of Westminster".

The West End Commission was overseen by 12 independent commissioners, including arts promoter Harvey Goldsmith.

The commission's chair, Sir Howard, is chief executive of Manchester City Council.

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