Place Strategy & Delivery Plan Consultation
Cabinet set to give green light on plans to future-proof the iconic Oxford Street District
Westminster City Council’s Cabinet is expected to decide at its meeting on 25th February to approve changes to the draft Place Strategy for the Oxford Street District and give the green light for proposals that will deliver much needed works to improve the district. A recent consultation showed strong support for the council’s fresh approach with design and modelling work planned to start in Spring and physical works getting underway in autumn 2019, subject to relevant approvals.
The draft strategy sets out a series of ambitious, exciting and also deliverable recommendations to significantly improve the district as a whole, with 96 projects across 87 different streets and spaces. We’ve also identified nine zones that reflect varying character from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road. The strategy was developed from previous consultation responses, proposed plans and a process of engagement in order to identify and understand concerns and ideas.
All of the proposals are our ideas as to what could be done to improve the area. Subject to the feedback we receive in the consultation, the council will then carry out the detailed technical work that would be needed to turn those preferred proposals into reality.
Our consultation on the Place Strategy and Delivery Plan runs from 6th November to 16th December. You can find the full strategy document here, a summary of the key points here and our survey at the end of this section or here.
If you would prefer to view the document in pdf format then please click here.
Challenges facing the district
Not enough space for pedestrians
It can be very busy for pedestrians using Oxford Street and parts of the surrounding district
Poor quality public realm
The current pedestrian environment is not pleasant
Poor air quality
Oxford Street and the surrounding district is one of the most polluted areas in the UK
Poor road safety
With the expected increase in pedestrians, it is critical that the road safety issues on Oxford Street and throughout the district are addressed
Rapidly changing retail trends and fierce online competition for shops
Oxford Street’s reputation is declining and high street retail is increasingly moving away from traditional shopping, towards leisure, entertainment and experiences
More flexibility required in our planning rules
The district and the wider West End faces a shortage of employment floorspace which needs to be addressed
It can be difficult to get to and move around the district
Key Principles for the district
What we want to achieve:
We have developed twelve area-wide principles which, taken collectively, will work together to create a great district. There are also three principles specific to Oxford Street.
Key Principles for the District
Make the district inclusive, accessible and liveable
For example, have easy access for all to a beautiful, safe, clean, well-managed and improved district.
Support economic growth across the district and promote innovation and experimentation
Investment in the Oxford Street District is important to protect and develop the area as a major employment district.
Design for flexibility
For example, design each space for elegance and comfort in both extremely busy periods and quiet times.
Build from existing and connect the whole district
For example, enhance the area’s remarkable assets and improve connections in the district.
Prioritise pedestrians and value every space
Prioritise walking as the main form of movement within and across the district.
Key Principles for the District
Make the district better for cycling
We support cycling as an active, zero-emission mode of transport and are committed to making it practical, enjoyable and safe.
Create beautifully designed streets, gateways and a diversity of public spaces across the district
We seek to unlock the full potential of the existing urban realm and its built fabric; to reveal, connect and upgrade the environmental conditions.
Enrich the cultural life and identity of the district
We will build on the district’s cultural and artistic assets whilst developing a programme of events which gives a reason to celebrate – and to visit – all through the year.
Take every opportunity to add additional trees and planting, creating new green spaces and revitalising the garden squares
Creating linked green spaces through the district will enhance biodiversity, increase local amenity, create valuable habitats for wildlife and improve the environment for all.
Take immediate steps to address management
A management plan will be produced and implemented which will set out the arrangements for all aspects of safety and management within the district.
Key Principles for the District
Improvements in safety will be fundamental to the perception – and experience – of the Oxford Street District as a place which is inclusive, liveable and welcoming, and a pleasure to visit by day or by night.
Improve air quality and manage freight and servicing movements
We will promote the reduction of freight and servicing vehicles on the streets to improve air pollution and congestion.
Diversify land use and extend the life of Oxford Street
For example, offer a wider range of attractions beyond traditional shopping.
Make Oxford Street spectacular
Our aim is to celebrate the daily urban theatre of its existing retail and leisure uses whilst creating settings for events at every scale.
Embrace Oxford Street’s role as an important transport corridor for the West End
Oxford Street transports people and traffic within, to and from the West End, either to visit Oxford Street or the surrounding district.
What we are proposing to do
Oxford Street will maintain two-way vehicle movement and will prioritise pedestrians, by reducing the width of the road and increasing pavements
More space for pedestrians throughout the whole district
Major improvements at key locations, including a new public piazza-style space at Oxford Circus and a reinvigorated gateway to the West End at Marble Arch
Manage traffic in a flexible way to respond to conditions, e.g. parts of the street could have restrictions at different times
Work towards a future in which all commercial vehicles that are not zero emission are banned and introduce a 20mph limit across the district
- Retain buses on Oxford Street 24 hours a day and ensure they are zero-emission
Encourage cycling and develop proposals for new cycling routes across the district
Celebrate and revitalise the historic garden squares in the district, such as Cavendish Square
Have more trees, planting and pop-up parks
Provide special lighting and promote world-class architecture throughout the district
Encourage a year-round programme of amazing cultural events and activities
Change our planning policies, through the City Plan refresh (subject to a separate consultation), to give greater flexibility to encourage different and diverse uses such as leisure, offices, hotels and restaurants, without affecting resident amenity
Key Proposals – Elements of the Place Strategy
Challenge: not enough space for pedestrians and
poor road safety
Our strategy proposes giving pedestrians priority and addressing safety
issues, while also balancing the needs of others using the district,
without moving traffic to residential streets
Challenge: poor air quality
Our strategy supports a greener and less-polluted environment for the whole district.
Challenge: poor quality public realm
Our strategy will create beautiful and inspiring spaces and places across
Challenge: rapidly changing retail trends and focus on experiences
Our strategy will create an amazing experience for residents, workers, visitors and businesses as well as improving the physical surroundings.
Challenge: it can be difficult to get to and move around the district
Our strategy will create a district that is accessible and seeks to balance
the needs of different users.
The elements of the draft Place Strategy show how the principles will be put into practice in the district. To read about the elements (listed below) in more detail please read pages 44 to 69 of the draft Place Strategy.
- Mix of land uses
- Streets and spaces
- Proposed operational approach
- Vehicle access
- London taxis
- General traffic
- Goods vehicles, servicing and deliveries
- Road safety
- Air quality
- Accessibility for all
- Wayfinding and legibility
- Architectural quality
- Culture and public art
To achieve the vision set out in the strategy, we have identified 96 projects across 87 different streets in nine zones, which will each contribute to the improvement of the whole district.
The nine zones reflect the diverse historical heritage and varied range of uses and can be seen below.
The full delivery plan can be viewed here.
Marble Arch, a historic asset for the district, is the gateway to Oxford Street, Hyde Park, and the west, playing a critical role in movement through the centre of London
A number of flagship stores are located here, as well as hotels, connecting with neighbouring residential areas
Home to the world famous Selfridges department store, Oxford Street connects Baker Street and the Mayfair streets of Duke Street, Orchard Street and North Audley Street
Connects south Marylebone with the heart of Mayfair, Bond Street and the new Elizabeth Line, it is characterised by a network of historic streets
The Cavendish Square to Hanover Square connection – providing links to green spaces and the new Elizabeth Line
Oxford Circus, the set piece adjoining Oxford Street and Regent Street is an iconic destination and unique arrival point for many visitors to the district
Characterised by the concentration of flagship stores it also provides connections through its side streets to East Marylebone into the north and Soho in the south
This zone plays a key role in connecting Soho and Fitzrovia, and facilitating movement across the district and beyond with its new connections to the Elizabeth Line, with a diverse range of smaller shops and cafés
This is a primary gateway to Oxford Street and arrival point from the new Elizabeth Line, linking the district with Tottenham Court Road and Bloomsbury, New Oxford Street, Holborn, St Giles, Seven Dials, Covent Garden and Charing Cross Road
While you can see the full delivery plan here, Westminster City Council also plans to bring forward a range of projects, which should make the district more attractive, enjoyable and accessible.
There are ten example sites in total which can be found in the link below or on pages 77 to 117 of the draft Place Strategy and Delivery Plan.
The Oxford Street District place strategy consultation has closed.
We would like to thank everyone who has taken time to submit a response, attend a consultation event or meeting and given their feed-back on our draft Oxford Street District Place Strategy and Delivery Plan. We have had lots of really constructive discussions about our proposals, including some new ideas for us to consider. We will now need to take some time to analyse all the results but they will be published in full when the Cabinet meets in early 2019 to agree what next steps will be required to future proof this iconic destination and vibrant neighbourhoods.