A statement from the Leader of Westminster Council, Cllr Nickie Aiken, regarding the future of Oxford Street confirms full scale pedestrianisation will not go ahead because of lack of local support but new proposals will be developed to be announced in the autumn.
Christine Matthews / Oxford Circus, London W1 /
Westminster Council writes:
‘Westminster City Council is hugely ambitious for Oxford St and we will do everything we can to ensure the district’s long term success in the face of a challenging and ever changing economic and retail environment. We will now look to develop fresh plans to achieve this, but we can confirm that the council does not support the full scale pedestrianisation of Oxford Street and believes a rethink of the whole strategy is now required.’
‘As the local council, we need to make sure that everyone can benefit from improvements, not just certain groups. I utterly reject any suggestion that there is any kind of betrayal. Quite the contrary, we are sticking up for the people who know best, those who live and work in the district. It was clear through two public consultations and recent council elections that local people do not support the pedestrianisation proposals.’
‘But doing nothing to improve the area is not an option either if we are to maximise the potential benefits from the opening of the Elizabeth Line. We must future-proof Oxford St and the surrounding district so it remains the pre-eminent shopping district in the UK and maintains its crown as the nation’s high street. The news that the House of Fraser will be closing their Oxford Street store only confirms our view that we all have to work harder to help the retail industry to grow and evolve, not simply stand still or just focus on traffic.’
‘We are now working on our own proposals to improve the Oxford Street district and will share them with residents, business and visitors for discussion in the early Autumn.’