Westminster City Council has announced plans to “transform” – though not necessarily fully pedestrianise – Oxford Street after scrapping the Mayor of London’s plans for the area.
The council will have to foot the £727,000 bill for the new development as TfL withdrew its support when the council blocked the original plan.
Sadiq Khan originally wanted to completely pedestrianise Oxford Street by the end of 2018, with buses rerouted and cyclists being required to dismount. In June, Westminster City Council dropped the plans as the leader of the council Nickie Aiken said the council needed to be certain that everyone would benefit from the changes.
A consultation held in March found that 61% of Westminster’s residents did not support the mayor’s plans, for which the council had access to £400,000 from TfL. But in a letter to Aiken last week (3 July), Khan announced that the body would be freezing the funds.
The mayor said that the original funds were set aside to “meet the challenges outlined” in his plans to pedestrianise the area and said that all changes required a “partnership approach”.
Now, the council will be going ahead with a “more comprehensive scheme rather than a narrow focus on physical changes to the street itself” and said it hopes to turn the district into a “global, iconic destination”.
The plans include less polluted, greener space with areas which are “seamlessly connected”. The council will also analyse pedestrian safety measures ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth Line stations at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.
Aiken said: “Our exciting vision and the plans we have agreed for the Oxford Street district will give residents and businesses the certainty they want as we deliver ambitious plans that will improve and future proof Oxford Street for many generations to come.
“There is a necessity to vastly enhance the overall experience for residents, workers and those visiting the district and this is the focus of the new project. Our coherent and district wide solution will be much more than a transport scheme.”