Westminster’s Cabinet has agreed a budget and timetable to deliver plans for an ambitious scheme that will transform the Oxford Street district into a global, iconic destination.
The new scheme is a comprehensive response to the long term challenges facing the district including poor air quality, changing nature of retail and safety issues related to the opening of the Elizabeth Line.
Following the decision to proceed at its Cabinet meeting on 9th July, the council has immediately started work on detailed plans for the area, spanning the length of the street from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch, ahead of a public consultation in November.
Feedback from previous consultations shows the need for a more comprehensive scheme rather than a narrow focus on physical changes to the street itself. The ambition is to have a world class, area wide solution that will ensure Oxford Street retains its status as the nation’s high street in a rapidly evolving retail environment. This will ensure that Oxford Street remains a must visit destination for visitors from London, the UK and overseas for many years to come.
Following the decision to take the full scale pedestrianisation of Oxford Street off the table as an option, the City Council is now leading the project but will continue to work with partners. The Council’s Cabinet has agreed to set aside £727,000 of its own funds to develop a new district wide solution, called a Place Based Strategy, and a set of potential options that will go to public consultation in November.
The council has detailed proposals under development, including more space for people to enjoy new and reinvigorated public places that are greener, less polluted, and seamlessly connected to each other and the wider West End. The scheme will enhance the rich heritage of this historic area with complementary changes in planning policy to enable greater diversity that will bring new vibrancy, new life and sustainable economic growth with innovative retail experiences at the core of the offer.
In addition to this work, the Council is also looking closely at what pedestrian safety measures may be required in advance of the opening of the Elizabeth Line stations at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, currently scheduled for December 2018. It is a priority to ensure people’s safety and any necessary works will be completed as part of a new Oxford Street safety scheme.
The Oxford St district project development will comprise of four stages that will run in parallel with the development and implementation of the safety scheme, that will be required ahead of the Elizabeth Line opening later this year:
|Placed based strategy stages||Timescale|
|A comprehensive audit and engagement with residents and other stakeholders to establish issues, priorities, vision and projects for the district.||July to August 2018|
|The production of a place based strategy to inform the development of preferred solutions for the district.||September to October 2018|
|Public consultation||November 2018|
|Adoption of the Oxford Street district place strategy and delivery plan by Cabinet.||January 2019|
|Oxford St safety scheme stages||Timescale|
|Development and design of Oxford Street safety scheme.||June to August 2018|
|Start of works for Oxford Street safety scheme.||September to October 2018|
Cllr Nickie Aiken, Leader of Westminster City Council, 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 fresh scheme will respond to safety issues related to the opening of the Elizabeth Line and will then transform the Oxford Street district into a global, iconic destination.
“Our coherent and district wide solution will be much more than a transport scheme. It will ensure Oxford Street retains its status as the nation’s high street in a rapidly evolving retail environment and is renowned as a must visit destination by visitors from London, the UK and overseas.”