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There are new ‘streamlined’ plans for the regeneration of Oxford Street

The £150 million project will have wider pavements and more greenery

Written by
Ellie Muir

These days, walking down Oxford Street feels like being stuck inside an immersive, neverending escape room. Dodging between the flashmobs, persistent leaflet-ers and budding Ed Sheerans singing ‘Shape of You’, and not forgetting the crowds of zombie-like shufflers, there’s a lot going on. Slated for its narrow pavements and bus-choked roadway, dozens of shady American candy stores and the loss of its most iconic brands (RIP big Topshop) and historic buildings, the capital’s most famous shopping destination has seen better days.

Over the last few years, there’s been talk of different regeneration projects, one of which would have transformed the street into a £350m pedestrianised piazza. (And let’s not forget The Mound.) Those plans were halted, debated and finally scrapped. Now, however, Westminster Council has confirmed a new plan for the future of the shopping boulevard, which includes wider pavements (yippee!), more public seating, extra greenery and improved street lighting.

The shiny revamp will stretch from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road, thanks to a £150m council budget for the project. Though the scale of the redevelopment is much smaller than the previous proposals, the council insist that it’s more ‘streamlined’ this way. A new Oxford Street advisory board is set to be established with businesses and residents to help guide the project over the coming months and years. Yeah, it might take a while (the advisory board is yet to even have its first meeting), but at least the plans are on the table, eh? 

Councillor Geoff Barraclough, Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment, said in an update: ‘A new, streamlined approach will be taken to the way the Council invests taxpayers’ money in the Oxford Street area.

‘We will do this at pace, mindful of the urgent need to take action to safeguard the economic well-being of the West End. Refocusing the programme on Oxford Street itself will enable us to quickly deliver the improvements that are most needed for the area.’

Big Ben will bong again (very) soon.

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