Plans to improve Oxford Street have been approved by Westminster Council, with work likely to start late next year.

(c) Westminster Council

However, the plans are only partially funded and subject to funding coming from local businesses. The council has approved an initial £7.7 million of the estimated £50 million cost and will be looking for up to £25 million from the businesses in the area.

The plans will not see the street pedestrianised, as that long talked about intention has as equally often been cancelled. However, they will be improving the pavements and road junctions for pedestrians, and Oxford Circus will be redesigned.

Along the street, there will be wider pedestrian crossings, longer green signals for pedestrian crossings and more frequent formal crossing points. This is aimed at reducing complaints that Oxford Street is too busy and overcrowded. There’s a recognition in the council report that the pavements are cluttered by street furniture in the wrong places and other obstacles.

Some of the concept images also show fewer sheds on the pavements that are rented by people selling anything from fruit to tourist tat.

There’s also a suggestion in the council papers that they will look to increase the night-time economy along Oxford Street, which is pretty quiet once the main shops close, leaving just the music blaring out of the perpetually empty candy stores for activity.

At Oxford Circus, the council proposes to redesign the junction to remove turns between Regent Street and Oxford Street — so ahead traffic only — and to widen the pavements, so pedestrians spend less time crossing the junction. That in turn should speed up road traffic as the pedestrian crossing times can be reduced a bit.

(c) Westminster Council

Three additional complementary schemes were also identified at James Street, Davies Street and Grosvenor Square, but are subject to separate funding agreements with relevant third parties.

Westminster City Council and the New West End Company (NWEC) have also signed an agreement to work together on the project.

Construction work is expected to start in the Autumn of 2024.

Cllr Geoff Barraclough, Westminster City Council’s (WCC) Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development, said: “After years of abandoned schemes, we are now about to finally get under way with a deliverable plan to breathe new life into Oxford Street. With the support of our partners at NWEC, we now have a coalition of the council, retailers, landowners, and others in place to develop a practical but also ambitious plan.”


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  1. Malo Harvey says:

    It is beyond me why Westminster could not reach an agreement with Marks and Spencer to redevelop the latter’s store at Marble Arch. Of course that is just a small part of Oxford Street.

  2. David says:

    I don’t see the shop’s willing to fund this proposal. They made their demands pretty clear a few weeks ago in a BBC interview, they want pedestrianisation.

  3. Latimer says:

    It’s just silly that it hasn’t been pedestrianised outright at this point

  4. Wes says:

    As a cyclist when the plan to widen the pavements was announced I was confused as having ridden down the street a lot the road is just two lanes and not wide ones along much of the road apart from Self ridges towards Marble Arch.

    With full pedestrianisation with roads crossing over Oxford St still open lile New St in Birmingham the types of events able to be hosted could make it more of a destination outside of 1 mile of virtually pure retail.

    You could have alfresco dining in the summer lile the popular food halls. A Christmas market, ice rink, sculpture exhibitions, certain funfair rides and the list goes on.

    It’s like the vision is limited when even shopping malls have realised they need to do more than just have shops to be visited regularly and have people wanting to spend extended amounts of time on each visit.

  5. Alan Spooner says:

    Oxford Street is a main East to West route for all road traffic let alone the busses that clog it up every day. If you pedestrianise it you are effectively blocking off the route from the Eastern part of Central London from the West. Where will the traffic go?

  6. Goldenlane says:

    It should not EVER be pedestrianised – that would make life unbearable in the surrounding streets. And Oxford Street is a main bus artery.

    Whether the proposed superficial improvements will make it nice enough for Londoners to want to go there I am doubtful. We yielded ‘our’ shopping street to shopaholic crazies and the victims of mass tourism decades ago.

    Besides, its just the same dreary shops you see in any high street.

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