Westminster City Council has launched its “ambitious” £150m plans to renovate Oxford Street, beginning with a series of temporary interventions to encourage higher footfall after lockdown.
The initial interventions aim to boost footfall and support businesses in the area, and will be closely followed by council-led projects that will “permanently reimagine” the Oxford Street District. Framework for the five-year reinvention project was first unveiled last month.
The changes are set to create more space for people, add trees and greenery, and introduce new seating, cycle parking, and pocket parks throughout the district. The temporary measures are due to be completed by late Spring 2021.
The initial project will “transform the look and feel” of Oxford Street and create a “cleaner, greener modern high street”, with a 40% increase in new mature trees, over 1,500 new plants from 65 different species, and 55 new seating areas, which is double the current number of benches.
The temporary interventions will be closely followed by other permanent works across the district, delivered by the council and in partnership with key stakeholders.
Cllr Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “The pandemic has been a hammer blow for retailers and Oxford Street has suffered as much or more than any other high street in the country.
“These initial measures, which should be completed in time for summer, will literally pave the way for an economic recovery. They will create a new visitor-friendly environment and reinforce the area as one of the best places in the world to live, work, shop and visit.”
She added: “This is just the start. Our Oxford Street District Framework lays out a plan for the successful long-term future for the nation’s high street, as the greenest, smartest, most sustainable district of its kind anywhere in the world.”
Karen Lord, head of branch at John Lewis Oxford Street said: “We welcome the much-needed improvement to the public space on Oxford Street which will both prepare for the opening of Crossrail and help encourage shoppers and visitors to come back to the West End.”
James Raynor, CEO of Grosvenor Britain and Ireland, said: “The reinvention of the Oxford Street District shows what is possible when forward thinking public and private sector partners come together.
“Today is just a taster of a progressive investment programme that will not only encourage back office workers and visitors, but also support retailers, restauranteurs and residents for the long term.”