London’s Oxford Circus pedestrianised under new plans

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Work to transform London’s Oxford Circus would see a 150m-long stretch of Oxford Street closed to vehicles by the end of the year, creating a pedestrian-friendly piazza.  

Plans released by the council and the Crown Estate showcased road closures 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.

According to the council, the plans would create more pleasant public spaces with places to eat, drink, shop and enjoy the centre of the city. It added the reinvention of the Circus turns it into a forward-facing urban space and is the latest step in the council’s plans to revive Oxford Street and the wider district, for its vision for a greener, smarter future for the West End.

Westminster has already committed £150m to kickstart the programme 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.

Section through of Oxford Street shows two new piazzas either end of Oxford Circus with improved access and new entrances from the piazzas directly into the underground station

Westminster City Council leader, Rachael Robathan, said: “These new bold plans to reinvent Oxford Circus will see the first significant redesign of the nation’s favourite high street in decades.

“We hope the creation of these pedestrian-only piazzas at Oxford Circus, surrounded by newly planted trees and large seating areas, will instil much needed confidence in the West End and support local businesses severely affected by the pandemic. We want to bring the excitement and buzz back to these famous streets and make Oxford Circus London’s front door.

“There is an urgent need to tackle issues with pedestrian congestion and 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. We hope the creation of these pedestrian-only piazzas at Oxford Circus will not only improve safety, security, accessibility and but create an iconic destination at the heart of London.”

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