Message from the Chairman
I have been a passionate promoter of cities as engines of national growth throughout my career. When I was invited to chair the independent West End Commission, I saw it as an opportunity to learn more myself about what makes successful places tick, but also to create a platform for serious debate to support the long-term success of a key national asset.
Our report is the culmination of many months of hard work by a number of people who have given up their time freely to listen, learn and discuss how the West End can respond to the challenges it faces, so that the area remains an attractive place to live and in addition, achieves world class excellence in corporate, visitor and enterprise activities.
Fiscal restraint is a challenge for many places and not just the West End. So is the co-ordination of public services. What is different in the West End is not just the scale of the challenges, but also the need to tackle the effectively the externalities which are associated with success.
I realise that the temptation for some will be to file this report in the ‘too difficult’ box. But the national and international role of the West End – and the comparisons we have produced with its peers throughout the world – mean that this is a debate which should be held. The Mayor, working with business and the boroughs, should now develop the momentum for the changes which are required.
I would like to thank all my Commission colleagues for the hard work they have undertaken over the past months – particularly Greg Clark who has supported me on the work on leadership and governance and Jim Steer on transport.
Finally, I would like to thank my Leader, Sir Richard Leese, for encouraging me to undertake the role of Commission Chair, and Pat Bartoli from Manchester City Council, who has worked alongside me throughout the development of the Commission's work to enable me to also do my day job.
SIR HOWARD BERNSTEIN
CHAIRMAN, WEST END COMMISSION