London

Oxford Street 'piazza' plans approved by council cabinet

Oxford Circus plans Image copyright Publica
Image caption Two new "public piazzas" will be established on either side of the junction with Regent Street, under the new plans

Plans to part-pedestrianise Oxford Street have been given initial approval.

Traffic would be re-routed to enable two new "public piazzas" on either side of the junction with Regent Street.

Westminster Council cabinet approved the plans, setting aside £150m of funds from its capital budget to kick-start improvements.

The Mayor of London said the proposals "nowhere near match the ambition" of previous plans.

A spokesman for the Mayor said: "Small cosmetic changes would mean Oxford Street will continue to be polluted, congested and dangerous."

In June 2018, Westminster Council pulled out of joint plans with the Mayor of London to pedestrianise large sections of Oxford Street.

Under the plans, roads around the shopping district would be narrowed, allowing "fewer and slower" buses in the busiest pedestrian areas.

Busy sections of Oxford Street in front of Selfridges, around Bond Street station and between Soho Street and Tottenham Court Road are being "considered for a high level of pedestrian priority".

A consultation of the scheme was supported by 66% of respondents, including positive feedback from 73% of residents.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More than four million people visit Oxford Street each week

Cllr Richard Beddoe, Cabinet Member for Place Shaping and Planning, said: "The council is determined to make sure it retains the crown as the nation's high street in the face of huge challenges and online competition.

"We've always said that we will listen carefully to those who live, work, visit or have a business in the district so we develop the best scheme that will future proof this vital and iconic part of Westminster and the West End."

A business case to support the Council's £150m investment which will be presented at the next meeting on 8 April, alongside a detailed delivery schedule

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