Westminster City Council has launched a new brochure setting out plans to create piazzas on two sections of Oxford Street either side of Oxford Circus. All traffic going east-west will be diverted northwards through Marylebone and Fitzrovia via John Princes Street, Mortimer Street and Great Portland Street.
Changes to traffic flows are also proposed in Fitzrovia West with part of Mortimer Street being made two-way and the direction of traffic in part of Great Titchfield Street and all of Newman Street and Berners street being reversed. A number of new pedestrian crossings are being installed.
There is no mention of any provision for cyclists nor improved arrangements for servicing and deliveries.
All these changes are being introduced for six months on an ‘experimental’ basis which means the Council is not required to carry out full consultation before beginning work later this year. It will, however, ‘carefully consider input from residents, businesses and other stakeholders’ once the work has been completed.
Full details are set out in the Oxford Street brochure:
The FitzWest Forum has written to West End ward members and Cllr Caplan, Deputy Leader, arguing that full consultation should be carried out now because of the potential impact of these changes on Fitzrovia, as well as Soho, Marylebone and Mayfair.
FITZROVIA WEST GOES TO THE POLLS ON 2ND SEPTEMBER 2021
Your time has come to vote in a referendum on the Neighbourhood Plan on 2nd September 2021. Everyone registered to vote will be able to say whether they want the plan to influence planning decisions and create an improved environment for all those living in, working in and visiting the area. All businesses in the neighbourhood which pay business rates will also get a vote. The Fitzrovia Centre in Foley Street will be the polling station but you can also apply for a postal vote through this link:
For more information have a look at our website Neighbourhood Plan
Thanks to everyone who has made suggestions and comments on the location of planting and greening as a means to improve the streetscape and to deter rubbish dumping. There are plenty of locations – we had 15 on the long list – so now we have a great resource to refer to and also to share with other organisations as we work on greening the area. Where we are at the moment:
- We are planning to apply for funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) which is a levy that local authorities can choose to charge on new developments in their area. The money is used to support development by funding infrastructure that the council, local community and neighbourhoods want.
- We have many suitable suggestions for locations, all over the FitzWest area.
- It is suggested the greening will have more impact – both visually and practically as a dumping deterrent if the greening areas are clustered together.
- We will keep all suggestions for a long term greening plan, but in the short term, for this initial CIL project we suggest the following which has the benefit of being relatively close together and therefore visible:
1. Langham Street/Gosfield St – 2 locations/ 4 or 5 planters A real and visible hot spot with lots of commercial and residential dumping.These three locations would create a real impact and are close enough together to be a noticeable improvement to the greening in the area.
2 & 3 Hanson Street /Foley Street – 2 locations /2 planters Two planters on Hanson Street/Foley Street corners. One of the corners by the bin is very prone to dumping, and there is plenty of space.
4 & 5 Candover Street – 4 locations/ 4 planters Four planters, one on each corner with Riding House Street and Foley Street. Prone to persistent dumping, would link to and echo existing planting outside local businesses on Foley Street.
These locations would create a real impact and are close enough together to be a noticeable improvement to the greening in the area and will be easy to monitor for rubbish dumping. Let us know your thoughts – by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by commenting on this post
Local business involvement We also plan to approach local businesses to see if they would like to be part of the application – we can apply for additional planters for businesses to display and care for on their forecourts (as some do already). If you are a local business with a forecourt or pavement space that is yours and would like to register an interest in acquiring planters then please get in touch at email@example.com
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.”
New West End Company (NWEC) presented their ideas at the last Forum meeting for a much needed green space in the neighbourhood around Market Place.
We agreed to be involved with the consultation and planning and welcomed this proposal.
You can see NWEC’s presentation in detail here:
Market Place Greening Project Powerpoint Presentation
We recently received this letter from Westminster City Council:
Great Portland Street Public Realm Improvements Westminster City Council, in partnership with The Crown Estate, is proposing public realm improvements on the western side of Great Portland Street between Riding House Street and Mortimer Street. The improvements are indicated on the enclosed drawing and include the following:
- Repaving the footway with new artificial stone paving footway and installing new granite kerbs, and
- Removing the level difference between the footway and the basement roof slabs.
The works are programmed to commence in February 2017. If your property has a vault/basement that extends beneath the footway and possibly the carriageway, the works being undertaken may cause water ingress or dampness to appear when the ground is disturbed if the vault/basement has not been properly protected by tanking or other damp proofing. The City Council is not required (nor can it) undertake to maintain the surface of the public highway in a watertight condition. This is in accordance with Section 180 Sub-Section 6 of the Highways Act 1980. The basement/vault to your property is a separate structure from the public highway and keeping it in a watertight condition is the responsibility of the owner or freeholder. If you are the occupier but not the owner of the property, you should make the owner aware of this notice.
Contact: Tel: E-mail:
Ref: Date: Ryan Reardon 020 7394 3020
email@example.com 0001-70027737-S6-1 09 December 2016
FM Conway Limited is working on behalf of Westminster City Council on this scheme and would be pleased to receive any comments you have regarding the proposals by 23rd December 2016.
Your views are important and will be reported to Westminster City Council officers for their review and consideration before a decision on the proposals is made.
Click o the link above to view a plan.
We have replied as follows:
Dear Mr Reardon,
Thank you for consulting us. We have placed the information on our website and look forward to further responses from our members. Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum is currently writing its policies at the moment. These will be published early in the new year. However, we can confirm that the community – both residents and businesses wishes to see more public realm improvements and so in general we welcome this initiative. We do however have a few observations:
- The removal of a kerb cross-over, thus limiting wheelchair access in this area even more is regretted. We recommend that you re-consider this regressive action.
- We wish to see all pavements in the area re-paved with York stone which is the traditional material.
- It is a shame that works like this are simply replacement works, when it is clear that Great Portland Street needs a holistic design approach along its entire length. This re-design should, in our view include improvements for pedestrians access, crossings and disabled accessibility. It is not clear whether this pavement work will make crossovers at shop thresholds better?
With kind regards
Wendy Shillam Chair FitzWest Neighbourhood Forum
The forum receives more complaints about rubbish than almost any other topic. In response to this we have set up a sub-group to focus of the problems of rubbish disposal, dumping and collections in our area.
We’ve devised a questionnaire and we would be very grateful if you could fill it in for us, giving us your views.
If you have any further comments please feel free to add them in the comments box below, or if you are reading this on our home page use the quotation icon at the head of this article.