Westminster Council is asking for comments on its proposals to “improve” Oxford Street and some of the streets in the surrounding area in a new public consultation that has been launched today.
The plans by the Labour council mark a departure from the previous Conservative administration’s abandoned schemes which proved unpopular with residents in the nearby districts due to the amount of motor traffic they would have displaced into the surrounding streets.
Westminster Council’s Labour leadership is now putting forward proposals which it says will deliver “wider footways, better seating, more trees and other planting, attractive lighting, clearer signage and more direct vehicle routes” as part of its Fairer Westminster initiative.
But there is little in the proposals to reduce motor traffic across the wider area or anything on offer to enable safe cycling along Oxford Street, despite Westminster Labour’s commitment to London Cycling Campaign’s “Climate Safe Streets” initiative.
“The Full Business Case for Oxford Street and Oxford Circus has been developed and is currently undergoing internal council review,” says Councillor Geoff Barraclough, cabinet member for planning and economic development, in a report to this week’s Scrutiny Committee.
“This business case will accompany a Cabinet report planned for the Autumn 2023 which will allow additional funding to be drawn down from the programme capital budget. These funds will be used to progress the designs for Oxford Street and Oxford Circus and cover programme overheads including staff costs.”
Cllr Baraclough says that his team has been meeting with Oxford Street businesses “as part of the discussion to secure 50 percent of funding for the scheme”.
The council is now embarking on a six-week period of active public engagement which includes a questionnaire, open events on and near Oxford Street, and small group engagement sessions with key demographic groups.
“The feedback received during this period will be carefully recorded and considered for planning and implementation of future programme phases,” says Barraclough.
The programme includes five projects:
- Oxford Street
- Oxford Circus
- Marylebone and Fitzrovia traffic scheme
- Traffic Changes off Oxford Street West
- Eastcastle Street junction improvement
These projects will deliver its vision for Oxford Street and the surrounding area, says the council.
“As part of our Fairer Westminster strategy, we are undertaking extensive and varied engagement on each of these proposals with residents, businesses and visitors to Oxford Street. All stakeholder and community feedback has and will continue to be the driving force behind the design, implementation and maintenance of the programme,” says the council.
Westminster City Council: Oxford Street programme consultation. Drop into a consultation session at The Salvation Army (Regent Hall) 275 Oxford Street, London, W1C 2DJ on: Tuesday 18th July – drop in 9am-5pm (presentations at 10am, 1pm and 4pm); Wednesday 19th July – drop in 2pm-8pm (presentations at 4pm and 6.30pm); Wednesday 2nd August – drop in 9am-5pm (presentations at 10am, 1pm and 4pm); Wednesday 9th August July – drop in 9am-5pm (presentations at 10am, 1pm and 4pm). Consultation closes on 31 August 2023.