Key area for retailers, Oxford Street may well become pedestrianised by 2020 due to concerns that congestion, pollution and safety issues will result in the street’s decline.
Consumers are gravitating more towards shopping centres such as Westfield due to the easy access that one roof allows. There’s also no street traffic and therefore seems like less of a hassle. Oxford Street is notoriously busy which puts off shoppers. If the street was for pedestrians only it would be more appealing, especially to families as there would be less road safety worries. Outlet Bicester Village is also an incredibly popular shopping destination. Three out of four Chinese tourists visit the retail park, ranking it as one of the top UK destinations for Chinese visitors. This is down to discount stores such as Prada and Burberry; visitors can also claim tax back on items they have purchased. Bicester Village is also for pedestrians only.
Despite the worry that Oxford Street may decline it is still one of London’s top attractions. Around 200 million people visit London’s Oxford Street a year.
There are also talks that a skyway footpath connecting Oxford Street shops is being considered.
Many are against the possibility of a pedestrianised Oxford Street such as taxis and bus operators. The plan could also impact the vast amount of offices that are based in the area. Notable magazine publications and film production offices are based in and around Oxford Street and if Oxford Street was pedestrian only, it would make the commute more difficult.
The London mayor’s office is reportedly working on improvements to the area.