Westminster City Council has agreed an investment plan to “transform the Oxford Street district into a global, iconic destination” without the pedestrianisation of the main thoroughfare.

The council’s cabinet will put £727,000 to fund its new scheme, which it described as a comprehensive response to the long-term challenges facing the district.

selfridges oxford street corner

The mayor and the council have disagreed over the future of Oxford Street

These include poor air quality, issues related to the opening of the Elizabeth Line and the changes affecting the retail and retail property industries. 

The ‘place-based’ scheme spans the length of Oxford Street, from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch, and includes creating more space for “new and reinvigorated public places that are greener, less polluted and seamlessly connected to each other and the wider West End”.

The council added that the scheme would enhance Oxford Street’s heritage by bringing “new vibrancy, new life and sustainable economic growth with innovative retail experiences at the core of the offer”.

The plan follows a public row between the Mayor of London’s office and Westminster council over the pedestrianisation of London’s main shopping street. Although only buses and taxis are allowed on Oxford Street, the road is extremely congested and the space for pedestrians limited. 

The council has long opposed the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street because of concerns from people living in the quiet streets surrounding the area about buses being rerouted.

The local authority will launch a public consultation on its plans in November.

Council leader Nickie Aiken said: “The plans we have agreed for the Oxford Street district will give residents and businesses the certainty they want as we deliver ambitious plans that will improve and future proof Oxford Street for many generations to come.  

“There is a necessity to vastly enhance the overall experience for residents, workers and those visiting the district and this is the focus of the new project. Our fresh scheme will respond to safety issues related to the opening of the Elizabeth Line and will then transform the Oxford Street district into a global, iconic destination.
“Our coherent and district-wide solution will be much more than a transport scheme. It will ensure Oxford Street retains its status as the nation’s high street in a rapidly evolving retail environment and is renowned as a must visit destination by visitors from London, the UK and overseas”