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25th February Press Release

Cabinet approve plans to future-proof the iconic Oxford Street District

Plans to future-proof Oxford Street District have been given the go ahead following a recent public consultation.

Westminster City Council’s Cabinet has approved changes to the Place Strategy and given the green light for proposals that will deliver much needed work 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.   

The overall ambition is to strengthen the world-renowned status of the entire Oxford Street District to ensure it will be a great place to live, work and visit and to secure its long-term future. The Place Strategy promotes a set of 15 overarching place-based principles and 96 projects to help deliver the ambition for the district. The council has already set aside £150m of funds from its capital budget to kickstart world class improvements throughout the area.

Cllr Richard Beddoe, Cabinet Member for Place Shaping and Planning, said:

“As proud custodians of the Oxford Street District, the council is determined to make sure it retains the crown as the nation’s high street in the face of huge challenges and online competition.

“We’ve carefully looked at every response received and made changes to the strategy as a result. We’ve always said that we will listen carefully to those who live, work, visit or have a business in the district so we develop the best scheme that will future proof this vital and iconic part of Westminster and the West End.

“Whilst there’s broad support for our approach, we will keep the dialogue and discussions going through any future technical stages required to deliver our ambitious strategy.”

The Place Strategy was subject to public consultation from 6th November 2018 to 13th December 2018 and the analysis of the responses has informed a decision about next steps, which was approved by the Cabinet at its meeting on 25th February. 

The headlines of the consultation are as follows:

  • There was a total of 2,154 completed consultation responses
  • 66% of overall respondents said they supported the Place Strategy principles
  • 73% of resident respondents said they supported the Place Strategy principles
  • The majority of stakeholders (resident and business groups) responded positively to the strategy.

As a result, the Cabinet has approved updates to the Place Strategy and Delivery Plan as a result of the feedback. The most frequent comments provided via the consultation survey were:

  • Support for the district wide approach
  • Support for effective traffic management and for the strategy to strengthen related proposals
  • Support for initiatives that would improve air quality and for the strategy to be stronger on this issue
  • Support for the Marble Arch proposals to be more ambitious
  • Requests for more detail related to design / traffic management overall and in key locations
  • Concerns raised regarding management of the district and requests for more work to be done

As a result, the following changes have been made to the Oxford Street District strategy:

  • The principles have been revised and presented to emphasise that all are equally important 
  • Further information has been added to the elements section, particularly improving air quality
  • Minor amendments have been made to the example projects and the delivery plan – however, all comments received relating to these would be taken to any detailed design phases alongside ongoing dialogue with local groups and businesses

There were many comments from the consultation regarding specific issues and spaces and they have all been reviewed and collated for future reference (and have also been summarised in the consultation report). Following Cabinet’s approval, detailed design work will take place over the Spring and Summer with future consultations expected at some key locations in the future, for example where changes to traffic would be required. The Cabinet has also approved ongoing engagement in zonal working groups as modelling and detailed design work progresses.

The 25th February Cabinet report also sets out information relating to the developing management plan and future governance and engagement. The Cabinet has noted the development of a business case to support the Council’s £150m investment which will be presented at the next meeting (on 8th April 2019) and that will set out an even more detailed delivery schedule.

The Cabinet report (and appendices) can be found here

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