Westminster Council are asking for your views on their plans for temporary works designed to support social distancing and enable the safe reopening of Oxford Street when restrictions are eased. You can comment directly to the Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter from Cllr Melvyn Caplan, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Management:
“It was agreed at the meeting on Monday, 25th January, with Amenity Societies and Neighbourhood Forums that Westminster City Council would share further information and invite comment on our plans for temporary public realm improvement works, proposed to begin towards the end of this month.
The first phase of the overarching Oxford Street District (OSD) strategy involves our proposals for installing a temporary scheme on Oxford Street itself, to showcase innovation, sustainability, culture and diversity.
We think quick-win interventions could be delivered by late Spring 2021 and present an exciting opportunity to test and experiment, as the first potential step towards the longer-term revitalisation of the district.
The temporary scheme would be delivered via a Temporary Traffic Order (TTO) for 18 months. We would plan to start these works at the end of this month.
These temporary proposals would see increased footway space on Oxford Street to enable safe, socially distanced access to the district, complemented by streetscape changes designed to improve the look and feel of the area. These plans are designed to enable the safe reopening of Oxford Street, when permitted, following the easing of national regulations and ensure visitors will be able to successfully socially distance. It has recently been reported that social distancing may remain in place until 2022, although there is no current guidance as to when that rule may change.
We will ensure that any works that take place are Covid secure and we think it would be beneficial to carry out these works during lockdown to ensure that any disturbance would be kept to a minimum. As with all schemes, we would keep it under constant review once established to ensure it is working effectively.
Our proposals for temporary improvements include:
- footway enhancements: extended pedestrian space and footways
- ‘street dressing’: a significant increase in plants and green areas, new contemporary seating, particularly in ‘pocket’ spaces along the street, colourful, themed banners which will be designed to create a sense of place and continuity
- ‘urban theatre’: spaces for outdoor performance, features that create a sense of enlivenment, with ‘smart’ technology-based installations, and concept lighting
Initial locations for the temporary scheme including footway widening have been identified for 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).
You can see further details of the proposed works at www.westminster.gov.uk/osd and we would be grateful if you could share your views on our plans or ask us any questions via our dedicated e-mail
We will also be launching our full vision and framework document later this month that will set out all of the ambitious and complementary improvements we wish to deliver with our partners for the benefit of residential communities, businesses, workers and visitors.”