The battle over the future of London’s Oxford Street has intensified after London Mayor Sadiq Khan challenged the local council for scrapping his flagship plan “with no attempt to compromise”.
Following the news that Westminster City Council would meet to discuss their plans for the future of Oxford Street next week, after “unilaterally” scrapping plans for pedestrianisation in which £8 million had already been invested, Khan has now written directly to the council.
In a letter to council leader Nickie Aiken, Khan warned that the area was “is blighted by overcrowded and poor-quality public realm, heavy traffic and the attendant problems of pollution and road danger,” and that if these issues were not addressed, the area would risk losing its appeal.
“We are all aware of the structural changes facing the retail sector,” he added
“Ultimately, the risk of not proceeding with ambitious and meaningful change is a risk to London’s future competitiveness on the national and international stage.
“This has implications not only for the businesses of Oxford Street, but the economies of London and the UK, and ultimately all of our constituents.”
Concerns for the area have been raised due to predictions that 60 million more shoppers could visit heavily congested area a year following the introduction of the Elizabeth Line later this year.
A proposal for the full pedestrianisation of the area, which would see busses and taxis banned, received approval from Transport for London and the public via public consultation.
However, the local council scrapped these plans citing opposition from Westminster residents, but are yet to produce any proposals for an alternative.
Khan said: “I need to understand what you intend to deliver for Oxford Street and how it will tackle the challenges set out above.”