Temporary Public Realm Improvement Scheme

Oxford Street will be undergoing a temporary transformation where interventions will be delivered to showcase innovation, sustainability, culture and diversity.

The first phase of the overarching Oxford Street District strategy involves plans to install a temporary scheme on Oxford Street itself, with the aim of showcasing innovation, sustainability, culture and diversity. Quick-win interventions that could be delivered by late Spring 2021 present an exciting opportunity to test and experiment, as the first step towards the longer-term revitalisation of the district.

The temporary interventions could reinvigorate and reimagine the nation’s high street for new patterns of use, safely welcoming people back to the district post-lockdown, with an atmosphere of celebration.

Increased footway space on Oxford Street to enable safe, distanced access to the district is part of our plans. The proposals include complementary streetscape changes designed to improve the look and feel of the area, and create enlivenment and atmosphere; additional greening and seating. Space to play is also planned, to surprise and delight people returning to district. These proposed and temporary interventions are designed to be exciting and imaginative, building anticipation for future stages of the project.

The concept

The planned temporary changes will make Oxford Street more exciting and attractive to visitors and residents, increasing dwell time and creating a more vibrant experience.

The improvements are planned to include:

  • footway enhancements: extended pedestrian space and footways
  • ‘street dressing’: a significant increase in plants and green areas to enhance the streetscape, contemporary seating, particularly in ‘pocket’ spaces along the street, colourful, themed banners which will be designed to create a sense of place and aesthetic continuity
  • ‘urban theatre’: spaces for outdoor performance, features that create a sense of enlivenment, with ‘smart’ technology-based installations, and concept lighting

The improvements have the aim of setting a global benchmark for a post-Covid response, supporting communities, visitors and retailers in recovery but also creating a sense of excitement and surprise.

Other proposed features

  • trial installations would be modular in design to enable them to be moved when necessary, once footfall increases on Oxford Street
  • the temporary footway widening could provide an opportunity to trial a variety of interventions
  • some traffic diversions would be required during the works, but disruption will be minimised
  • the council and its partners will also review all street signs, bollards, and pedestrian guardrails, and all redundant or unnecessary clutter would be removed or consolidated wherever possible

The temporary scheme would be delivered via a Temporary Traffic Order (TTO) for 18 months.

Upon commencement of any scheme, Westminster City Council will garner feedback from stakeholders during this period, to collectively assess which changes should be considered as part of the longer-term plans for the district.

This is an opportunity to test and pilot ideas that are both high impact and generate enthusiasm for the district’s reinvention in the future.

Click here for more information about the project.


Initial proposed locations for the temporary scheme including planned footway widening at the following locations:

  • West Oxford Street: Marble Arch islands, Bird Street junction, Davies Street junction, outside Selfridges
  • Oxford Circus: Hills Place junction, Great Titchfield Street/ Market Place, Winsley Street junction, Old Cavendish Street junction, Holles Street junction
  • East Oxford Street: Newman Street junction, Rathbone Place junction and Soho Square (north)

The proposed works are likely to impact traffic flow on Oxford Street between Regent Street and Marble Arch.

The following diversions are proposed:

  • 8 March 2021 until 21 March 2021 – eastbound closure with diversion in place
  • 22 March 2021 until  2021 – 1 April 2021 westbound closure with diversions in place

Please share your views on our plans by getting in touch with our Stakeholder Engagement team at: stakeholderteam@murphycareyjv.co.uk