Westminster City Council kicks off £150m Oxford Street plans

Westminster City Council has kicked off its ambitious £150m reinvention of London’s most famous high street, that will permanently reimagine the Oxford Street District.

Having launched the framework for its five-year-long Oxford Street District reinvention in February, the council has started work on a series of temporary interventions that aim to boost footfall and support businesses in the area to bounce back post-pandemic.

The changes will create more space for people, add trees and greenery, and introduce new seating, cycle parking, and pocket parks throughout the Oxford Street District. The temporary measures, which are due to be completed by late Spring 2021, aim to create a welcoming and safe environment for residents, workers and visitors when lockdown restrictions are eased.

The initial project will transform the look and feel of Oxford Street – creating a cleaner, greener modern high street with an increase of 40% in new mature trees, over 1,500 new plants from 65 different species, and 55 new seating areas, which is double the current number of benches.

Cllr Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “These initial measures, which should be completed in time for summer, will literally pave the way for an economic recovery. They will create a new visitor-friendly environment and reinforce the area as one of the best places in the world to live, work, shop and visit.”

“This is just the start. Our Oxford Street District Framework lays out a plan for the successful long-term future for the nation’s high street, as the greenest, smartest, most sustainable district of its kind anywhere in the world.”

Karen Lord, head of branch at John Lewis Oxford Street said: “We welcome the much-needed improvement to the public space on Oxford Street which will both prepare for the opening of Crossrail and help encourage shoppers and visitors to come back to the West End.”

The temporary interventions will be closely followed by other permanent works across the district, delivered by the council and in partnership with key stakeholders. With the first permanent projects due to kick-off this Spring, the local authority will continue to engage with stakeholders to ensure the world-class destination continues to be one that is designed for the future.

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