MODERN VISION: The New West End Company, the U.K. firm that represents businesses across London’s West End area including Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets, has released a study that lays out its vision for the evolution of Oxford Street.
The study, called “The Future of the Oxford Street District,” was created in partnership with the public realm and urban design consultancy firm Publica, economic consultancy agency Volterra and property consultants Gerald Eve. It highlights a series of recommendations for the busy shopping thoroughfare which would improve and diversify the experience on offer, as well as create additional revenue streams.
Taking into account ongoing issues such as air quality and the need for traffic-free zones, the study recommends the creation of clear pedestrian and cycle routes that will enable visitors to safely move around, as well as public areas such as play spaces or open green spaces. The organization of more cultural or community events in the evening is also part of the recommendations, as an answer to the need to enhance the street’s evening economy.
The study takes into account the increased amount of visitors on the street, which is estimated to reach 260 million annually following the completion of the Elizabeth line, a new railway line in the London Underground that will stretch from Heathrow airport to Reading.
According to the New West End Company, the implementation of the study’s recommendations would result in the creation of up to 30,000 jobs in the next 15 years, an additional 160 million pounds of annual revenue in business rates and 206 million pounds of planning contributions, that the Westminster Council and Mayor of London could invest in improving amenities in the West End.
“The West End’s businesses have an aspiration for Oxford Street district to be transformed from a single shopping street into a varied, entertaining and well-connected district,” said Jace Tyrell, chief executive office of the New West End Company. “Their vision for the area is that it becomes a center for civic life, culture and commerce with the world’s best retail district at its heart. Our study makes implementable recommendations for its realization to ensure that the West End can compete with fierce international competition.”