London’s Oxford Circus to be transformed by Westminster City Council
Westminster Council and The Crown Estate have unveiled plans to transform London’s Oxford Circus into two pedestrian-friendly piazzas.
The organisations said in a statement that the piazzas will become London’s “front door” and will be the subject of an international design competition.
With work set to completed by the end of this year, it will aim to deliver significant improvements to the public spaces in and around Oxford Circus by creating more pleasant places to eat, drink and shop. It will also include the introduction of additional planting and seating to improve the overall look and feel of the area and encourage dwell time.
Improvements will also be made to the public realm including creating better access to Oxford Circus tube station. In addition, there will be road closures through the introduction of experimental traffic orders between Oxford Circus and Great Portland Street to the East and Oxford Circus and John Princes Street to the West to enable that section of Oxford Street to be turned into a pedestrian-first zone.
The RIBA International Design Competition for the project will be launched this summer and will invite entries form around the world. The final plans for the chosen scheme will be delivered through a phased approach, starting with two ‘car free’ piazzas on Oxford Street, either end of the Circus, with a target delivery date of the end of 2021.
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.”
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