Manchester Square

Proposals for Manchester Square project will deliver a new public space that enhances the wellbeing of local users and visitors.

We are working in partnership with The Portman Estate and the Baker Street Quarter Partnership on engaging with stakeholders on proposals to improve Manchester Square in Marylebone, as part of the Council’s ambitions for the wider Oxford Street District.

Overall axonometric view
Credit: DSDHA Architects
View of central space from The Wallace Collection
Credit: DSDHA Architects

Our Vision

The vision for Manchester Square is to create a new public space for everyone to enjoy as well as an enhanced environment for pedestrians and cyclists. While very much a project for Marylebone, this project sits within a range of improvements to the wider Oxford Street District.

The Manchester Square project will focus on the north side of the square, between the garden square and The Wallace Collection, where a new public space will be created which will also enhance the setting of one of the West End’s much-loved cultural institutions.

View from eastern approach
Credit: DSDHA Architects

The benefits of the proposed Manchester Square project include

• a new public space providing respite, greening and seating

• improved pedestrian safety and accessibility with wider footways, reduced traffic and step-free crossings

• a new setting and open space to enhance the major free-to-enter cultural venue, celebrating the cultural and historic value of Manchester Square

• the introduction of a dedicated eastbound cycle lane on the northern side of the square, with no impact for cyclists heading westbound as they continue to follow the one-way traffic flow around the south of the square

Central space in axonometric view
Credit: DSDHA Architects

Proposed Design

A proposed design for Manchester Square is shown below.

Proposed design for Manchester Square
Credit: DSDHA Architects

A brochure has been created to provide further information on proposals for Manchester Square. To view the brochure, click here.

The project’s frequently asked questions can be viewed here.

Consultation

Thank you to those who submitted comments on our proposals to improve Manchester Square. The feedback we have received has been extremely valuable in assessing the scheme and the desire for change. In total, 91 submissions were received from local residents, businesses, cultural and hospitality venues, and community and resident groups, during the consultation period.

Consultation outcome

83% of those who responded to the consultation were supportive of the proposal to create a new public space in the northern section of Manchester Square, with improvements to the pedestrian environment, and a new dedicated cycle route along the northern side of the square.

Several themes arose from the consultation which have been taken into consideration, leading to design adjustments and further investigations. We are continuing to work with individuals and groups who have suggested ideas for improvements, to ensure the best possible scheme is developed for the local community.

Some key themes to arise from the consultation include:

New public space – there was broad support for the creation of a new public space being created, with many respondents acknowledging the lack of public space locally, and the importance of the proposed new space for residents and visitors to the area.

Green space – support for a new green space, and a general view that new green spaces are vital for improving the environment and the air quality in the area.

Cycling provision – support from the community and advocacy groups for the separate cycle provision around the north side of the square, providing the new route with links to the WCC’s wider cycle plans for the borough.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) – concerns have been raised about existing ASB and the potential for a new public space to create further issues, including rough sleeping, littering, late-night noise and skateboarding. These concerns have been addressed through the development of a robust Street Management Plan and improved lighting in the area, which should result in an improvement on these issues.

Heritage – the heritage of the square is vitally important to both residents and visitors and has been considered from the earliest conception of the project through to the detailed designs presented.

Please look out for more details of the consultation results which will be published on this website in the coming weeks.

Consultation assessment

The consultation ran from 29 October to 3 December 2021 and included local stakeholders, residents, emergency services and transport and freight providers. On 15 December 2021, the results of the consultation were submitted to the Cabinet Member for Business, Licensing and Planning for consideration. On 20 December 2021, approval was granted for the scheme to progress to the construction stage. You can read the full details of the decision here.

The high-level of interest in the proposals and significant number of contributions to the consultation have been key to the decision-making process. We’d like to thank all participants for taking the time to comment, ask questions and provide insightful feedback which has helped to shape the scheme to-date.

Traffic Management Order

On 26 January 2022, proposed Traffic Management Order (TMO) changes were published that will enable improvements to the Manchester Square area of Westminster, including changes to parking on neighbouring streets. The impact of removing parking has been considered in detail, with no net loss of residential parking bays.

The majority of parking bays that will be removed will be pay-by-phone bays, of which there are currently more than are needed, which will enable the improvements, and reduce vehicle movements in the area. The improved active travel infrastructure, including cycling routes and pedestrianised space, will encourage people to visit, and travel through, the area in more sustainable ways.

Disabled parking pays will also be available at both the north and south sides of the square, enabling more convenient access.

Parking bays will be split between pay-by-phone and resident parking bays on Seymour Mews, with resident parking bays added to Duke Street, Wigmore Street and Manchester Street. The proposed new parking bays on Wigmore Street, Manchester Street and Spanish Place are in addition to the existing parking provisions on those streets.

Existing parking
Proposed parking

Next steps

Planning is now underway for construction to commence in the spring of 2022, and the works are expected to take up to nine months to complete. Precise timings will be announced closer to the start of construction, with further engagement with local residents, businesses and any impacted stakeholders to take place in the coming weeks and months.

We will be updating this website with more information on the scheme, construction details, and timings in the coming weeks. We will also be sending regular email updates to those how have subscribed to the Oxford Street District e-newsletter. If you would like to subscribe to this then please sign up by emailing us at oxfordst@westminster.gov.uk.

You can contact the stakeholder team with your questions about the Manchester Square project at any time via stakeholderteam@murphcareyjv.co.uk.