// “Spades in the ground” as regeneration works for Oxford Street begins
// Works are part of £150m plans to prep the precinct to welcome back shoppers after lockdown & boost footfall
// Changes include more space for people, add trees and greenery and introduce new seating, cycle parking and pocket parks
Westminster City Council has put “spades in the ground” for the regeneration of London’s Oxford Street in preparation for welcoming back shoppers and visitors after lockdown ends.
The council recently unveiled a five-year plan to spend £150 million on the regeneration of the central London thoroughfare, which includes series of “temporary interventions that will encourage visitors back after lockdown”.
Non-essential retailers in England, along with indoor leisure centres and gyms, outdoor hospitality, and personal care services such as hairdressers and nail salons, will be able to reopen from April 12.
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From May 17, restaurants, pubs and hotels being able to reopen indoors in line with the “rule of six” policy.
The rule of six would then be relaxed by June 21 at the earliest, and all large gatherings would be allowed to go ahead.
Westminster Council said its plans for Oxford Street aim to boost footfall and support retailers and other businesses in the precinct in their post-lockdown recovery.
The changes will create more space for people, add trees and greenery and introduce new seating, cycle parking and pocket parks throughout the Oxford Street district.
In addition, a 82ft mound of soil is to be built up next to Marble Arch – on the western end of Oxford Street – to create an artificial, temporary hill and platform providing views over Hyde Park and the West End.
The regeneration is to be completed by late spring 2021.
“The pandemic has been a hammer blow for retailers and Oxford Street has suffered as much or more than any other high street in the country,” Westminster City Council leader Rachael Robathan said.
“Today is significant, because the talking is done and work is underway. It is critical that we act urgently to restore confidence in the nation’s favourite shopping district.
“These initial measures, which should be completed in time for summer, will literally pave the way for an economic recovery.
“They will create a new visitor-friendly environment and reinforce the area as one of the best places in the world to live, work, shop and visit.”