Revamp for London's theatreland to boost international tourism.
Efforts to revamp the West End of London in time for the 2012 Olympics are to be given a £70m boost by Westminster council. The London borough plans to redevelop Leicester Square, and to make Covent Garden, Chinatown and London's theatreland more appealing to families and pedestrians.
The council hopes to raise £10m in sponsorship for the project, which will provide an open stage in Leicester Square, and add more street furniture and lighting. The Chinese government will also donate new traditional gates for Chinatown.
In its report, Vision for the West End, the council estimates that spending by international visitors for 2005 has fallen £500m, in large part due to the July 7 bomb attacks. It says it will work with the mayor Ken Livingstone, and Ian Henderson, the head of the working party that is revamping Oxford Street, so that the projects could link up in the future.
Westminster council leader Simon Milton added: "London's West End is an economic powerhouse, a shop window for what London has to offer in retail, leisure and entertainment and a series of residential communities."