Thursday 7 June 2018 1:13 pm

Oxford Street pedestrianisation plans scrapped by Westminster Council

Plans for pedestrianisation of Oxford Street have effectively been scrapped by Westminster Council this evening.

In a letter sent round to residents, Westminster council leader Nickie Aiken said there was a "strong democratic mandate" that the scheme was not backed by residents.

"As a result, Westminster City Council has taken the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street off the table for good and we have informed the Mayor and TfL of our decision," she said.

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Aiken went on to say that "doing nothing" was also not an option, as she said the authority would look at how it would "future-proof" Oxford Street as the new Elizabeth Line brought an influx of visitors.

"Moving forward, the council will now work on completely new proposals and come back to you after the summer break with some thoughts as to how we can proceed with improving the Oxford Street District," she added.

The decision will come as a hammer blow for Sadiq Khan, who has has backed plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street since before he won the mayoral election in 2015.

"This will be seen as a betrayal of the millions of Londoners and visitors to our city who would have benefited from making Oxford Street a safer, healthier and better environment," he said. "All the main mayoral candidates agreed on the need for the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street at the last election, as did Westminster Council until today.

"The project was a good example of two political parties putting politics aside, working together to improve our city for everyone.

"This now poses a real threat to the future of Oxford Street, which could not be worse timed, coming on the same day House of Fraser announced they will be closing their Oxford Street store."

But Khan vowed not to turn his back on the project. "I won’t walk away from Oxford Street," he said. "It's too important for our city."

Read more: Fresh doubt cast over Oxford Street pedestrianisation