A new framework for the Oxford Street District has been unveiled by Westminster City Council. The framework reimagines the nation’s favourite high street through the themes of greener, smarter, future and together; to create a globally competitive centre for innovative retail, commercial activities, culture and living.
Some highlights from the framework’s proposals for longer term improvements include:
- Focusing investment in the district on three strategically defined areas (Oxford Circus & Bond Street, Marble Arch and East Oxford Street), with benefits rippling out across the whole District and West End.
- Cleaner air across the District through world class sustainability initiatives to tackle climate change, with a huge greening programme, a pedestrian first approach and zero emission transport network.
- Exploring new models of living and working, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises to establish themselves and reusing and reimagining existing buildings.
- Delivering world-class public realm with a strong focus on play.
- Strengthening the area’s positioning as a global centre for culture, arts, leisure and creative industries.
Westminster has already committed £150m to kickstart the OSD programmes and attract inward investment, taking full advantage of the Elizabeth Line opening in 2022 and the area’s links to the wider West End and beyond. It was already in development pre-pandemic but now also responds to fundamental changes to shopping habits and working patterns, that have been accelerated by Covid-19.
It will be a `year of delivery’ for Oxford Street with a large number of immediate projects getting under way within weeks, including:
- Work will begin within weeks on a proposed range of intensive, interim improvements on Oxford Street to deliver additional pedestrian space, pop up parks, new lighting, landscaping, greening projects and cultural space to create an attractive, Covid-secure, environment for visitors post lockdown.
- A proposed new `Marble Arch Hill’ temporary visitor attraction to enhance the historic Marble Arch, bringing the beauty and tranquillity of Hyde Park a little closer to neighbouring Oxford Street. Subject to attaining planning approval, it has been estimated that the 25m high attraction could be enjoyed by up to 200,000 people whilst it is operational, subject to whatever Covid restrictions remain at the time. This would support millions of pounds in incremental spending for the local economy across the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in the West End.
- Encouraging a wider range of businesses for a more varied range of shops, including pop-ups, offices, restaurants and cultural or leisure activities.
You can view the council’s new framework for the Oxford Street District here.