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All change at Oxford Street again

Whether you love it or you hate it you can’t deny that London’s Oxford Street is always in a state of flux. Its permanently changing nature has been highlighted by the appearance of ‘Parklife Oxford Street’ and the forthcoming work on the redesign of the crossings at Oxford Circus. By Glynn Davis, City editor

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

All change at Oxford Street again

Whether you love it or you hate it you can’t deny that London’s Oxford Street is always in a state of flux. Its permanently changing nature has been highlighted by the appearance of ‘Parklife Oxford Street’ and the forthcoming work on the redesign of the crossings at Oxford Circus. By Glynn Davis, City editor

The former isn't necessarily a good thing as it involves a big piece of prime retail land at the west end of the road being used for private events (catering for as many as 3,950 people).

It's not that I'm agai

nst such events it is simply that there is no way that this proposition would have appeared if the land had been snapped up by a developer to build more retail space on what is premier retail square footage. It is a sad sign of the state of the commercial property market.

But despite the doom and gloom Oxford Street continues to attract shoppers in the millions and it is because of its popularity that the crossing at Oxford Circus is to undergo a 5 million redesign.

This will involve Intelligent Space creating a new crossing that replicates those used in Tokyo where traffic is stopped from crossing the junction at all four points at the same time thereby enabling pedestrians to cross whichever way they choose including diagonally across the junction.

When this is combined with wider pavements, better lighting and less 'street furniture' such as barriers then the redesign should help alleviate one of the major bugbears of Oxford Street. This is especially the case at Christmas when it really is a nightmare and is why the job is scheduled to be finished before the annual switching on of the street's Christmas lights.

Once this is complete then all that is needed is to make Oxford Street entirely car-free. This would be every retailers dream, but apart from one-off traffic-free days, I suspect the length of time needed to wait for this to happen will be beaten only by the time it takes to cross Oxford Circus.

glynnd@theretailbulletin.com

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