Oxford Street transformation to get underway by December 2018 as TfL and Westminster City Council launch consultation

 
Rebecca Smith
TfL wants to transform the capital's famous shopping district
TfL wants to transform the capital's famous shopping district (Source: Getty)

The transformation of Oxford Street is planned to start by the end of next year, as Westminster City Council and Transport for London (TfL) today launch a consultation on the development.

The consultation considers moves such as removing access for taxis, saying it would "increase the extent" to which Oxford Street could be transformed.

Currently, black cabs can access Oxford Street at any time, while private hire vehicles can use it from 7pm until 7am Monday to Saturday. While the consultation notes the importance of taxis for those with restricted mobility in particular, it said that despite making up almost a third of the traffic, taxis account for only two per cent of trips on the street.

The aim with Oxford Street's shake-up is to turn the district into "the world's best outdoor shopping experience" and is planned to tie in with the Elizabeth Line opening in 2018 to capitalise on the expected rise in visitors as a result.

TfL forecasts the number of people flocking to Oxford Street will increase significantly when the new stations open at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road in December next year.

Read more: Four changes that need to happen before Oxford Street can be pedestrianised

The eight-week consultation kicks off today for people to air their views on everything from air quality to traffic congestion to pedestrian experience and access to public transport.

TfL noted that international competition as well as ongoing local issues such as overcrowding, congestion and poor air quality are putting the long-term future of the capital's famous shopping district "at risk". Some four million people visit the shopping street each week.

The transport body and Westminster City Council want to develop the area by improving the public spaces, reducing the volume of traffic on Oxford Street, tackling its poor air quality, reducing crowding on the popular shopping street and managing traffic in the surrounding area. They also plan to outline proposals that will support businesses in the district.

Val Shawcross, deputy mayor for transport, said: "Oxford Street is iconic as a shopping destination, but there is far too much pollution and we have a huge opportunity to make it cleaner and safer for the millions of people who use the street every year.

"We need to make the transformation the very best it can be – ensuring it benefits local residents, businesses, and people who rely upon transport links in the area."

This is an important first opportunity for Londoners to have their say before we outline our detailed proposals later in the year.

A second round of consultation is planned for the autumn for a detailed scheme.

Read more: JD Sports is opening another megastore on Oxford Street

Last week the mayor outlined plans to run 40 per cent fewer buses on Oxford Street.

The changes to 23 routes in central London follow a consultation to assess changing demand.

Buses will be re-routed away from Oxford Street, moving the termini for some routes to Park Lane, Trafalgar Square and Tottenham Court Road, while extending others to maintain connection.

TfL will start implementing the changes in the summer.

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