Oxford Circus will be transformed into two, pedestrian-friendly piazzas as part of plans unveiled by Westminster City Council and The Crown Estate.
An international design competition will be launched and run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
Works on the transformed Circus will begin later in the year with the scheme also set to include:
• significant improvements to the public spaces in and around Oxford Circus, creating more pleasant places to eat, drink, shop and enjoy the centre of the city.
• additional planting and seating to improve the overall look and feel of the area and encourage dwell time.
• significant improvements to public realm, including working with Transport for London to create improved access to Oxford Circus tube station.
• road closure through the introduction of Experimental Traffic Orders, between Oxford Circus and Gt. Portland Street to the East, and Oxford Circus and John Princes Street to the West, turning it into a pedestrian-first zone.
• the launch of the RIBA International Design Competition in Summer 2021 to deliver the final scheme, ensuring ‘world class’ designs and value for money. The competition will be run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and will be a fully open competition, inviting entries from around the world.
The reinvention of the Circus as a world-leading, forward-facing, urban space, is the latest step in the council’s ambitious plans to revive Oxford Street and the wider District, for its vision for a greener, smarter future for the West End.
The new Oxford Circus plans will be delivered through a phased approach, starting with two ‘car free’ piazzas on Oxford Street, either end of the Circus, with a target delivery by end of 2021.
The plans for Oxford Circus will improve the experience for people living in, working in and visiting the area. The safety and security of pedestrians is paramount, and will be improved through the introduction of pedestrian-only piazzas at Oxford Circus to reduce pedestrian congestion; a much-needed measure that will be made even more necessary with the arrival of the additional people who will come to the district on the newly built Elizabeth Line. Traffic will continue along Regent Street, north and south of Oxford Circus.
By prioritising people over vehicles, the changes also aim to improve air quality. Works on Oxford Circus are expected to reduce vehicle traffic and improve efficiency of bus journeys across the area. The scheme is linked with Westminster City Council’s ‘Greenways’ project, which is designed to improve the experience of cyclists across the Oxford Street District and in the borough.
These new plans respond to massive changes to shopping habits and working patterns, that have been accelerated by Covid-19. It reimagines the nation’s favourite high street through the following themes; GREENER, SMARTER, FUTURE and TOGETHER to create a globally competitive centre for innovative retail, commercial activities, culture and living.
For more information read the brochure on the Westminster City Council website.
Tell us what you think
We are delivering the Oxford Circus work in stages, underpinned by a six month public consultation. This is achieved by utilising an Experimental Traffic Order to allow changes to Oxford Circus, and the required enabling works across a wider area, for the piazzas to open in November 2021. This gives us the flexibility to allow us to amend, develop or stop our plans through a constant dialogue and by looking at what effect the works have.
If you have any comments on the plans, please contact email@example.com