Sadiq Khan has slashed £80m of funding from Westminster City Council (WCC) for redeveloping Oxford Street, after finding out the council had ditched joint plans with Transport for London for the project in favour of its own £150m proposal.
In a letter seen by City A.M., addressed to council leader Nickie Allen, the mayor of London launched a stinging attack on WCC for “derailing” the plans, which TfL spent £8m of public money working on.
He added WCC had “shattered any confidence I have in a positive working relationship with the council” on the future of the street.
The joint approach, backed by 64 per cent of the 14,000 people consulted on them, according to the letter, would have seen TfL and WCC working together to removing traffic and “giving the space to the people”, with £80m directed at the work.
But after jointly consulting on the project last year, WCC pulled out of the “meticulously designed” plans, submitting its own with a £150m budget.
These, according to Khan, are not ambitious enough in their efforts to remove traffic and pollution.
“In light of your new funding stream, TfL’s funding will instead be reallocated. I am not convinced that contributing additional TfL funding to an unambitious scheme is good use of taxpayers’ money,” he said.
Richard Beddoe, WCC cabinet member, said revised plans still included measures to reduce traffic and tackle poor air quality.
“Securing the future of the nation’s high street is more complex than the previous 'one size solves all’ scheme," he told City.A.M.
“It’s encouraging that over two thirds of those we’ve consulted to date support our ambitious approach," he added.