Plans to transform the Oxford Street District

There are plans to transform the Oxford Street District into a world class public space progress after strong support from the first consultation.

  • A huge 12,000 responses submitted to first consultation from wide range of local residents, business and stakeholders across London and the UK
  • 62 per cent of respondents say they support the transformation of the area, with a second consultation on transformation of Oxford Street district planned for November 2017
  • Westminster and TfL are now working to address local concerns and develop designs to create the world’s best outdoor shopping experience
  • Transformation aiming to coincide with launch of Elizabeth line services through Central London in December 2018

Work to make the Oxford Street district a globally renowned public space has taken a step forward with the publication of the full results of the first public consultation that showed strong support for transforming the area. A second consultation on plans to secure the street’s future as the world’s best outdoor shopping experience and a great place to live and visit will now go ahead later this year.

Bordering vibrant residential community across Mayfair, Marylebone, Fitzrovia and Soho, Oxford Street welcomes more than 500,000 visitors every day. It is the location of some of the world’s best-loved stores and brand names as well as being a key commercial centre that helps drives the London and UK economies.

The second consultation is expected to begin in early November 2017 and seek to offer a district wide solution that delivers the vision of being the world’s best outdoor shopping experience and a great place to live, work and visit.

Several key topics have been identified in relation to the transformation, including addressing concerns raised by local residents, such as traffic impacts on the wider area, provision and relocation of bus services and accessibility issues, providing a better experience as well as improving air quality around the Oxford Street district.

Almost 12,000 responses from local residents, stakeholders, businesses and visitors from across the UK were received during the initial eight-week consultation conducted by Westminster City Council, The Mayor of London and Transport for London between April and June 2017.

A review of these shows strong support for progressing with the overall transformation of Oxford Street – with 43 per cent of respondents who completed an online questionnaire strongly supporting the proposals and a further 19 per cent offering their support. But 30 per cent of those who responded said they didn’t support the transformation and feedback was clear that any scheme must address a range of transport, accessibility and congestion concerns raised by locals and others.

The consultation also outlined a number of areas which residents, businesses and stakeholders felt should be considered to ensure that any transformation would be a success both for Oxford Street and the wider area. These included:

  • How the transformation of Oxford Street would affect traffic flows in the surrounding areas
  • What impact the transformation would have on air quality along Oxford Street and the wider area
  • Ensuring access to and from Oxford Street is maintained, particularly for the disabled, elderly or people travelling with very young children
  • Confirmation on which forms of transport would be allowed to a future transformed Oxford Street, and ensuring these are properly catered for throughout the transformation
  • Improving cycling infrastructure on alternative streets around Oxford Street and linking them to the wider cycling network
  • Suggestions for potential designs, including calls for additional planting, better seating and other public realm features such as new public art and al fresco dining
  • How the public space would be effectively managed after any transformation

To support the transformation programme, ten detailed work streams are now underway to directly address the wide range of comments raised during first consultation. Each project will help shape the broader plans to ensure that the transformation delivers for all with minimal impact to local traffic, residents or businesses.

Subject to the outcomes of the proposed second consultation, a transition scheme could be in place by the time the Elizabeth line service opens in December 2018 with a full transformation scheme planned to be in place by 2021.

Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council said:

“This is the next step in our efforts to transform the country’s most famous and economically important shopping district, which is also home to a vibrant residential community. We want Oxford Street and the surrounding area to remain the envy of the world and our vision is to create a neighbourhood and outdoor shopping experience that cities across the globe can aspire to. This is an enormous project which many people care deeply about. It’s crucial that everyone knows that we are listening and that they can help shape our plans.”

 

Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said:

“We’re ambitious to turn Oxford Street into one of the finest public spaces in the world. I’m delighted that so many people have engaged with the consultation so far, and we now have a huge opportunity to transform the area by making it cleaner and safer for the millions of people who spend time in the area every year.

Whether you visit Oxford Street for shopping, or you’re a local resident or business, we need to make sure the plans are the very best they can be, and I’m excited that we’ll now be coming forward with more detailed plans for the transformation in the coming weeks.”

 

Alex Williams, Director of City Planning at Transport for London, said:

“Wherever you go around the world, if you mention Oxford Street, people know you are talking about London. However, the area is already very busy and growth in London’s population and economy will bring even more people to the area.

Along with reducing the number of buses along Oxford Street by 40 per cent, the introduction of the Elizabeth line provides a once in a generation opportunity to tackle the challenges of poor air quality and congestion to help ensure that it retains its iconic status for years to come. The strong support from this consultation has shown that there is a desire to make Oxford Street and the wider area an even better place to live, work and visit. We will now work to further analyse the consultation responses and address the issues raised as we develop our plans for a truly transformational scheme for all.”

 

For more information on the transformation of Oxford Street and the wider district, please visit the TfL consultation page and Westminster City Council.

Consultation begins on transforming Oxford Street District

Westminster City Council and TfL are working closely together to deliver an ambitious transformation programme that will ensure Oxford St will be renowned as the world’s best outdoor shopping experience.

The opening of the Elizabeth Line in 2018 offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver improvements that will make this icon of London and the UK a destination of choice for many years to come

To help shape what the future of Oxford St could be, an initial eight-week consultation launches today (Monday 24 April) to seek views from as many people as possible as to how to improve Oxford Street and the surrounding District, to maintain its position as the jewel in the West End crown.

Once the results of the first round of consultation are known, a further consultation could follow in the autumn on a detailed scheme, paving the way for the start of the transformation of Oxford Street by December 2018, when the Elizabeth line opens.

The Leader of Westminster City Council, Cllr Nickie Aiken, and London’s Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown MVO, have today both welcomed the start of a consultation to support the delivery of what is expected to be one of the most ambitious place-shaping projects London has ever seen.

A world class destination, Oxford Street is a leading shopping and cultural hub that welcomes more than 500,000 visitors every day. It is home to some of the best-loved stores and brand names as well as being a key commercial centre that drives the London and UK economies. There is also a strong educational and cultural tradition, from the University of Westminster to the world famous London Palladium and prestigious Wigmore Hall.

The district is also home to a vibrant local community who are proud to call the area their home. However, international competition and ongoing local issues such as overcrowding, congestion and poor air quality are putting its long-term future at risk.

The proposals to transform Oxford Street aim to significantly improve the area, as well as creating jobs, opportunities and prosperity, bolstering the area’s reputation as a leading shopping destination and ensuring the District retains the unique character of its neighbourhoods. Westminster City Council and TfL propose to create a new world-class public space by:

  • improving the public spaces and overall experience so that people will want to visit and keep coming back
  • improving neighbourhoods so they are some of the best places to live and visit in London
  • reducing the volume of traffic on Oxford Street‎
  • addressing its poor air quality
  • reducing crowding on Oxford Street and improving road safety
  • managing the traffic in the surrounding area and improving neighbourhoods for residents.
  • supporting businesses throughout the District, enabling economic growth and creating jobs
  • ensuring the area remains accessible

Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “Today is an exciting first step in our plans to transform Oxford Street into one of the finest public spaces in the world. Oxford Street is iconic as a shopping destination, but there is far too much pollution and we have a huge opportunity to make it cleaner and safer for the millions of people who use the street every year.

“We need to make the transformation the very best it can be – ensuring it benefits local residents, businesses, and people who rely upon transport links in the area. This is an important first opportunity for Londoners to have their say before we outline our detailed proposals later in the year.”

Leader of Westminster City Council, Cllr Nickie Aiken, said: “This consultation is the first step towards transforming Oxford Street to make it an even more enjoyable experience for the thousands of people that use the area every single day. We want to ensure that all residents, office workers, shoppers and tourists benefit from the improvements to one of the busiest and most famous streets in Europe.

“In order to achieve this, we would urge as many people as possible to take part in the consultation and have their say on the future of an iconic area of London. The Mayor and I are in total agreement that the area should be massively improved but we don’t yet have any firm plans. That’s why we want to hear what residents, businesses, visitors and workers think will improve the district.

“Once we have gathered as many views as we can, we will develop a detailed proposal and a second round of consultation is planned in the autumn. It is a highly complex environment, but we know that by working together with all those who have a stake in the future of the area, we can get the best outcomes for the Oxford Street district.”

London’s Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown MVO, said: “Oxford Street is known across the globe as a fantastic place to shop, meet friends and socialise. The introduction of the Elizabeth line will help ensure that it retains its iconic status for years to come.

“It’s therefore vital that we take this once in a lifetime opportunity to make the area an even better place to live, work and visit. I would encourage everyone to get involved in this important consultation and help us shape the future of this world-renowned destination.”

For more information and to respond to the consultation, visit www.tfl.gov.uk/oxford-street.

Response to Autumn Statement from Westminster City Council CEO Charlie Parker

“The Case for the West End funding was submitted by the West End Partnership to the government earlier this year and was widely supported by partners in the West End.   This tax incremental finance funding case proposes that Westminster City Council should be allowed to retain locally 6.5% rather than 4% of the £1.8 billion business rates collected by the authority, which would provide over £400m of new public funding over fifteen years.  This would be invested in infrastructure improvements and encourage inward investment which would create £12.3 billion in additional economic output and generate at least £2.5 billion in additional tax, as well as over 100,000 jobs and productivity gains in the UK economy.

Our original intention was to secure approval for the proposals in the Autumn Statement but following changes in the government it became clear that this year’s statement was to work differently – less of a set piece setting out of funding plans and not all funding announcements made in either the statement or the Budget.   Indeed, as you will have seen, this turned out to be the last Autumn Statement this government intends to hold.

The economic and fiscal case for the West End has been well received by officials and now has good political support.   We believe that Ministers will be considering it shortly in the light of the macro-economic priorities it began to outline in the Autumn Statement.  Discussions with HM Treasury and civil servants in DCLG and BEIS have moved on from the economic proof of case and are now focussing on how the mechanics of the finance would work in detail and the final terms for the settlement.   A decision is therefore expected early in 2017, which will then enable projects awaiting funding to proceed as planned.

We are very grateful for the considerable support given by partners in building this case to date and look forward to continue working with them to secure an early decision on the settlement.”