Westminster City Council has unveiled its ambitious plans to future proof the Oxford Street District so that it will lead the way in reinventing the concept of the successful high street amidst thriving residential neighbourhoods in order that it remains the economic powerhouse of the capital and jewel in the West End crown.
The Council’s fresh Place Strategy and Delivery Plan has identified 94 projects across 85 different streets in nine zones, including proposals for major improvements at Oxford Circus, Marble Arch and Cavendish Square. It has looked in depth at every street in order to understand what makes the place so special and what needs to be done to enhance the heritage and character that makes the district unique and gives it the edge as a `must visit’ destination over domestic and international rivals.
As a result, the city council is planning on setting aside £50 million each year for the next three years in order to provide a massive kick start to turn the strategy into reality and is calling on private and public partners to back the improvements. A draft of the detailed Place Strategy, which has been developed over the summer following rounds of discussion with 50 stakeholder groups, including residents, businesses, workers in the district, young people and special interest groups, will now be considered by the Council’s Cabinet when it meets on 25th October ahead of the expected launch of the final document for formal public consultation from 6th November to 16th December 2018.
It is vital to invest in the success of the District as it is the social, cultural and economic powerhouse of the capital and the country. Some key statistics for the area include:
The top ten proposals in the strategy include:
Through ongoing engagement with residents, businesses and visitors, it is clear that an effective and funded maintenance and management plan will be required to ensure that the District remains a key destination once the improvement works get underway. This plan will tackle issues such as supporting rough sleepers, closely working with the police and pooling council resources regarding anti-social behaviour. It will also cover street cleaning, repairs and city wide policies on busking and redouble efforts to seek support for the changes in law to regulate pedicabs.
Cllr Richard Beddoe, Cabinet Member for Place Shaping and Planning, said: “No other major city in the world has sought to refresh and revitalise a whole district in such a comprehensive and ambitious fashion.
“In developing this strategy we have listened carefully to those who know best – those who live, work, visit and do business in the area that has helped shape our deep understanding of what makes the place so special and what we should do to enhance the area.
“We are all well aware of the challenges the district faces and we want to bring all the available public and private resources to bear to tackle them head on and future proof the district’s ongoing success which is vital for Westminster and London. This strategy and the significant funding we have set aside is the enabler to make this happen.”