Plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street rejected by Westminster Council

LRSC Oxford Street

Oxford Street in May 2017. Image: Captain Roger Fenton, via Flickr.

Westminster Council has told officials to stop working on plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street, after rejecting them as ‘unacceptable’. (Evening Standard)

First unveiled by the Mayor of London and TfL in July 2016, the proposals would see all vehicles banned from a 1.2 mile stretch of Oxford Street, from Tottenham Court Road to Bond Street tube station, by 2020.

Sadiq Khan had hoped that work on the pedestrianisation would get underway later this year, starting with an 800-metre section at the western end from Oxford Circus to Orchard Street, near Marble Arch.

However, residents in Marylebone, Fitzrovia and Mayfair have expressed concern that diverted buses, cabs and delivery vans will create gridlock on nearby roads.

At a full council meeting last week, Daniel Astaire, Westminster’s cabinet member for Oxford Street, told officials to stop working on the plan.

Mr Astaire said:

“TfL and the Mayor are the main proponents of the changes to the street, but it belongs to the council and the decision rests with us.

“I have informed them – much to some surprise – that detailed work on a scheme is to be stopped. They had even wanted to appoint an artist to design street concept art, but I have stopped this too. At present there is no scheme nor a proposal which is acceptable to the council.”

Mr Astaire, who steps down this week, added that Westminster Council could only back a plan that addressed the concerns of residents, reporting ‘the overwhelming majority of Westminster’s residents and businesses’ were against the plans.

He warned that any legal move by TfL to take control of Oxford Street ‘could take four years’.

In his manifesto for the 2016 mayoral election, Mr Khan said he would: “Restore London’s air quality to legal and safe levels, with action to make travel greener and pedestrianise Oxford Street, while protecting the green belt.”

A spokesman for the Mayor said:

“The transformation of Oxford Street is a joint project between Westminster Council, TfL and the Mayor… We continue to work closely with Westminster council to look at all the latest consultation responses in detail, and ensure everyone’s views are taken on board before a final proposed scheme is  presented.”

03 May 2018