Council criticised for Oxford Street pedestrianisation U-turn

08/06/2018
William Eichler

Westminster City Council has defended itself against accusations it has ‘betrayed’ Londoners with its decision not to make Oxford Street a traffic-free area.

Council leader Nickie Aiken yesterday said the city council had to ‘rethink’ its strategy towards the popular shopping destination after confirming pedestrianisation plans had been dropped.

‘Westminster City Council is hugely ambitious for Oxford Street and we will do everything we can to ensure the district’s long term success in the face of a challenging and ever changing economic and retail environment,’ she said.

‘We will now look to develop fresh plans to achieve this, but we can confirm that the council does not support the full scale pedestrianisation of Oxford Street and believes a rethink of the whole strategy is now required.’

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, for whom pedestrianisation of Oxford Street was a flagship policy, criticised the council’s decision.

‘This will be seen as a betrayal of the millions of Londoners and visitors to our city who would have benefited from making Oxford Street a safer, healthier and better environment,’ he said.

‘All the main mayoral candidates agreed on the need for the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street at the last election, as did Westminster Council until today.’

Mr Khan also said the timing of the decision ‘could not be worse’ because it was announced the day House of Fraser closed their shop on Oxford Street.

A million people were contacted by Transport for London and Westminster City Council in a consultation between 6 November 2017 and 3 January 2018.

Out of 14,377, over 9,000 either supported the project outright or backed plans with ‘some concerns about certain elements’.

Cllr Aiken, however, insists that local residents do not support the plans to transform the street.

'As the local council, we need to make sure that everyone can benefit from improvements, not just certain groups. I utterly reject any suggestion that there is any kind of betrayal,’ she said.

‘Quite the contrary, we are sticking up for the people who know best, those who live and work in the district.

‘It was clear through two public consultations and recent council elections that local people do not support the pedestrianisation proposals.’

'But doing nothing to improve the area is not an option either if we are to maximise the potential benefits from the opening of the Elizabeth Line,' she continued.

'We must future-proof Oxford Street and the surrounding district so it remains the pre-eminent shopping district in the UK and maintains its crown as the nation’s high street.'

The chair of the London Assembly's transport committee said: 'We note Westminster Council’s decision to take the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street "off the table for good" and urge the Mayor to find a way to make it work, taking on board the concerns raised during the consultation process.

'This was one of the Mayor’s flagship commitments and he needs to think again about how to make it happen.

'The Committee believes the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street could transform the area for the better, but it must be done carefully, taking into account the needs of residents, people with disabilities and cyclists.'

Green Party London Assembly member Caroline Russell blamed the council's decision on a lack of leadership from Mr Khan.

'This is a devastating example of the Mayor’s lack of leadership in actually making our streets better for people. Nice plans are no good if he can’t put them into action,' she said.

'The Mayor needs to work with Westminster Council to come up with another plan for Oxford Street fast and he also needs to show more leadership and vision in building consensus for the major changes needed to make our streets more people-friendly.'

This article first appeared on localgov.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

Highways jobs

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32,029 - £34,788 per annum
Currently seeking an enthusiastic and experienced individual to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Technician

Derbyshire County Council
£22,628 - £24,455 per annum
Two posts have become available in the Council's Highways Development Control Section Derbyshire
Recuriter: Derbyshire County Council

Head of Network Planning

Derbyshire County Council
£52,999 - £58,310 per annum
This is a key role at Derbyshire County Council that will lead the strategic and operational planning and management of... Matlock, Derbyshire
Recuriter: Derbyshire County Council

Senior Parking Manager

Brent Council
£55,638 - £58,779 p.a. inc.
As Senior Parking Manager, you will be responsible for the effective management of the Council’s Parking Services contract, and... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Group Engineer (Highway Design)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£39,782 to £43,757 plus £3,000 Market Rate Supplement
Are you an experienced engineer looking for an opportunity to improve the lives of the local people of... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Group Engineer (Highways Network and Asset Management)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£39,782 to £43,757
Looking for a Group Engineer who already has... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Validation Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£21,188 - £29,796
Are you looking for working arrangements that enhance your work-life balance? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938 per annum
Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part time, job share and flexible working basis. The salary is u England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Principal Transport & Infrastructure Planning Officer

Essex County Council
£52000 - £57570.0 per annum
Please note this is a two year fixed term contract with a potential for extension, subject to budget and workload. Job purpose Calling all transport P England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Food Safety Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 to £42,490
Seeking a highly motivated and experienced Environmental Health Officer to join our busy Food Safety team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Policy Planner

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£25,327 - £36,486 depending on skills and experience
We have an exciting opportunity within the Spatial and Transport Planning service for 2 x Policy Planner roles... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Highways Inspector

Cambridgeshire County Council
£19,554 - £23,836
Looking for candidates who have experience of highways maintenance and have a sound technical understanding of highways. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Street Services Recruitment Day

Royal Borough of Greenwich
Competitive Salary
This role involves collecting residents and business wheelie bins and waste containers you will work as... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Assistant Tree Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£25,880 - £27,904
Looking for an assistant tree officer to join a busy Tree Section working with the most up to date arboriculture equipment’s and IT resources.  Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Senior Design Engineer - Guildford

Surrey County Council
£39,438 - £43,744 per annum
An opportunity has arisen within Surrey County Council's Highway Design & Delivery Team... Guildford, Surrey
Recuriter: Surrey County Council

Director of External Operations

Somerset West and Taunton Council
£100,000
Somerset West and Taunton Council has been through a transformation that puts customers at the heart of everything we do. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset West and Taunton Council

Zero Emissions Network Officer

Tower Hamlets London Borough Council
£33,759 - £34,986
We are looking for an enthusiastic Zero Emissions Network Officer Tower Hamlets, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tower Hamlets London Borough Council

Contract Supervisor

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£31,013 - £36,486 depending on skills, knowledge and experience
The role of Contract Supervisor (Waste and Street Cleansing) will require you to support ambitious plans to provide services for residents Richmond upon Thames, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Flood Risk Manager

Birmingham City Council
£43,662 - £54,574
The role requires the post holder to be the lead professional for the Authority’s Flood Risk Management and drainage function Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue
  • HIghways Awards shortlist revealed
  • Equity in transport
  • DMRB updates
View the latest issue

Latest Video