Westminster City Council and The Crown Estate have unveiled plans to transform London's Oxford Circus high street into two, pedestrian-friendly piazzas.
Oxford Circus connects Oxford Street and Regent Street in the heart of the UK's capital.
Westminster City Council leader Rachael Robathan insists there is “an urgent need” to tackle issues with pedestrian congestion, safety, poor air quality and noise.
“The serious congestion of Oxford Circus, of people and of traffic, is unsustainable and demands action. In the aftermath of the pandemic, and with the arrival of the Elizabeth Line, there is an overwhelming need and a compelling opportunity to build back better; a 'business as usual' approach will no longer work.”
Dan Labbad, chief executive at The Crown Estate, says: “It is essential, as we rebuild our capital, that we create places that better serve all those who use them – improving air quality, reducing congestion, prioritising safety and delivering a world-class visitor experience.”
“These latest plans build on the recent improvements to Regent Street, and will help create a fitting gateway to all that the West End has to offer,” he adds.
As part of the plan, Westminster has already committed £150 million to kickstart the Oxford Street District programme and attract inward investment.
Robathan says: “We hope the creation of these pedestrian-only piazzas at Oxford Circus, surrounded by newly-planted trees and large seating areas, will instill much-needed confidence in the West End and support local businesses severely affected by the pandemic.”
The scheme is set to include a collaboration with Transport for London to improve access to Oxford Circus tube station.
It will also introduce road closure through Experimental Traffic Orders, between Oxford Circus and Gt. Portland Street to the East, and Oxford Circus and John Princes Street to the West, turning it into a pedestrian-first zone.
The new plans will be delivered through a phased approach, starting with two piazzas at either end of Oxford Circus, with a target delivery by the end of 2021.
Traffic will continue along Regent Street, north and south of Oxford Circus.