Westminster City Council has unveiled proposals to ban all buses and commercial vehicles that are not zero emissions on Oxford Street, months after scrapping the Mayor of London’s pedestrianisation plans.
Draft proposals were submitted for a £150 million transformation of the highly congested shopping district which also included plans to impose a 20mph speed limit, introduce two new cycle routes and construct a “piazza-style space” on Oxford Street junction.
Though it did not set a date for its zero emissions policy to be brought in, it said that its £150 million budget will be spent over the next three years.
“We hope these proposals can bring an end to the perceived trade-off between economic growth in the West End and a better experience for residents,” chief executive of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, which owns large portions of land in the area, Craig McWilliam said.
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”.
Khan slammed the decision, calling it a “betrayal of millions of Londoners” adding that the move “poses a real threat to the future” of the street, and subsequently banned the council for using any funds from the Transport for London for a redevelopment without his approval.
A spokesperson for the mayor’s office responded to the proposals stating that “nothing short of a transformation is required”.
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.