Westminster Council to discuss Oxford Street pedestrianisation alternative

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Westminster City Council are set to open discussions about the future of Oxford Street after they controversially rejected plans for its pedestrianisation.

On July 9 the council is due to meet to lay out plans for a pedestrianisation alternative, in which it will look to inject £727,000 including £327,000 of its own revenue.

In June the council confirmed that plans for a pedestrianisation, considered to be a flagship policy of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, had been “taken off the table for good”.

Despite receiving support from the general public via a public consultation and from Transport for London, the council said it was clear “through two public consultations and recent council elections that local people do not support the pedestrianisation proposals”.

A key issue for the area is the prospect of increased overcrowding in the already heavily congested area with the introduction of the Elizabeth Line, due to arrive at the end of this year.

This is set to see 60 million extra people visit the area per year by 2020 and increase visitor numbers to Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street stations by 81 per cent and 57 per cent respectively by 2021.

Safety interventions ahead of the arrival of the Elizabeth Line are reportedly being reviewed by the council, which is compiling a report outlining the investment and initiatives needed.

The pedestrianisation proposals would have seen the area become traffic free, diverting it instead to surrounding streets.

“I would like to reiterate our absolute commitment to bringing forward ambitious plans that will improve and future-proof Oxford Street and surrounding district for many generations to come,” councilor Richard Beddoe said.

“There is a necessity to vastly enhance the overall experience for residents, workers and those visiting the district and this will be the focus of the new project.

“We want a district-wide solution that will ensure Oxford Street retains its status as the nation’s high street in a rapidly evolving retail environment and is renowned as a must visit destination by visitors from London, the UK and overseas and is a place where distinct neighbourhoods continue to thrive.”

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