Oxford Street’s proposed pedestrianisation scheme has been placed on hold as Westminster City Council orders a halt to all work on the project.
The local authority has rejected plans to transform Oxford Street by the end of the year, despite receiving widespread support from London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Transport for London (TFL) and the general public.
In phase one of the proposal, 800 meters of Europe’s busiest high street would become entirely traffic free, saving the already heavily congested space for the influx of shoppers expected with the opening of the Elizabeth Line.
However, residents in nearby Marylebone, Fitzrovia and Mayfair have expressed their concerns to the council that the diverted traffic will add to congestion and pollution outside their homes.
Westminster City Council cabinet member Daniel Astaire asserted that the final decision to green light the project “belongs to the council”.
“I have informed them – much to some surprise – that detailed work on a scheme is to be stopped,” he said.
“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.”
This week’s local elections have made the plans a hot button issue, with candidates on both sides wishing to be seen as addressing local residents’ concerns.
Following an eight-week consultation period that ended last month, with 66 per cent of respondents offering support for the idea in some form, deputy mayor for transport Val Shawcross said: “We will now look at all the consultation responses in detail to ensure that everyone’s views are taken on board.
“Whether you’re a resident, a business, or regularly shop in the area, we must ensure the final details of the plan truly provide benefits to the millions of people who use the area every year.”