// London’s Oxford Circus is set to be transformed into two, pedestrian-friendly piazzas
// Westminster City Council has committed £150m to kickstart the programmes
New plans for London’s Oxford Circus have been mapped out by Westminster City Council and The Crown Estate.
The landlords aim to create a “rival” to Times Square in the centre of the Oxford Street District.
Oxford Circus will be transformed into two, pedestrian-friendly piazzas and work will begin later in the year.
The scheme is also set to include:
• Delivering significant improvements to the public spaces in and around Oxford Circus, creating more pleasant places to eat, drink, shop and enjoy the centre of the city.
• Introducing additional planting and seating to improve the overall look and feel of the area and encourage dwell time.
• Significant improvements to public realm, including working with Transport for London to create improved access to Oxford Circus tube station.
• Road closure through the introduction of Experimental Traffic Orders, between Oxford Circus and Gt. Portland Street to the East, and Oxford Circus and John Princes Street to the West, turning it into a pedestrian-first zone.
• The launch of the RIBA International Design Competition in Summer 2021 to deliver the final scheme, ensuring “world class” designs and value for money.
Westminster has already committed £150 million to kickstart the OSD programmes and attract inward investment, taking full advantage of the Elizabeth Line opening in 2022 and the area’s links to the wider West End and beyond.
“These new bold plans to reinvent Oxford Circus will see the first significant redesign of the nation’s favourite high street in decades,” Westminster City Council leader Rachael Robathan said.
“We hope the creation of these pedestrian-only piazzas at Oxford Circus, surrounded by newly planted trees and large seating areas, will instil much needed confidence in the West End and support local businesses severely affected by the pandemic.
“We want to bring the excitement and buzz back to these famous streets and make Oxford Circus London’s front door.
“There is an urgent need to tackle issues with pedestrian congestion and safety, poor air quality and noise. The serious congestion of Oxford Circus, of people and of traffic, is unsustainable and demands action.
“In the aftermath of the pandemic, and with the arrival of the Elizabeth Line, there is an overwhelming need and a compelling opportunity to build back better; a business-as-usual approach will no longer work.
“We hope the creation of these pedestrian-only piazzas at Oxford Circus will not only improve safety, security, accessibility and but create an iconic destination at the heart of London.”
The Crown Estate chief executive Dan Labbad said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Westminster to deliver a transformation of what I think we all recognise as one of the most iconic locations in the world.
“It is essential, as we rebuild our capital, that we create places that better serve all those who use them – improving air quality, reducing congestion, prioritising safety and delivering a world class visitor experience.
“These latest plans build on the recent improvements to Regent Street, and will help create a fitting gateway to all that the West End has to offer.”