Oxford Street has seen recent notable improvements to some poorly managed premises and in addressing illegal business practices happening in the area.
The Council has taken a multi-agency approach in gathering intelligence and addressing problematic sites. The aim of this has been to encourage better use and maintenance of these prime locations. This has included joint action from the Council’s enforcement officers and Police in investigating illegal activities and targeting stores which have not been compliant with Trading Standards.
Enforcement officers from both the Council and Police have previously targeted four stores on Oxford Street which resulted in a seizure of over 11,000 goods by Trading Standards officers which included unsafe toys and counterfeit clothing. An additional 2,500 souvenirs were seized as they were illegally displayed for sale on the public highway.
This is all to help ensure that Oxford Street remains an attractive place to shop and to inspire businesses to operate at expected standards that also align with the appeal of this iconic shopping street.
Westminster City Council’s Planning Enforcement Team has also recently enforced against the installation of unauthorised illuminated advertising and vinyl adverts on shopfronts, and the removal of shopfronts and their replacement with external roller shutters at various premises along the full length of Oxford Street. The investigation of these businesses has led to the improvement in the appearance of the shopfronts and resulted in the closure of two premises.
In late April, successful action by the Planning Enforcement Team resulted in the vacation of 103 Oxford Street by a vape/luggage shop, which had replaced a plate glass window within the shop window with a crimson roller shutter, and had installed various unauthorised illuminated advertisements. As a result of the Team’s action, the unauthorised advertisements and the roller shutter were removed, and a new plate glass window installed in the shop window.
The implementation of these enforcement processes is an important part of reinventing the future sustainability of Oxford Street and contributes to a better visitor experience along the street.
These efforts demonstrate some of the many ways that the Council is working to improve Oxford Street and complements the longer-term vision for the area. The results that have been seen so far will inform wider strategic interventions happening within the area and the Council will continue to monitor and investigate activities in the district.