Change is definitely coming – that is the resounding message from the latest update on the Oxford Street District Transformation project hosted by the New West End Company in partnership with the Westminster Property Association and Westminster City Council.
Deirdra Armsby and David Hills of Westminster City Council described the progress of the place-making strategy that will cover 88 streets around Oxford Street. The project will be delivered by the Council in partnership with local businesses over the next three years.
In parallel, the Council will take a flexible approach to land use on Oxford Street. This is already how the planning department is tackling the challenging market dynamic in the retail and commercial sectors, as shown by a number of recent change of use applications. The Council consider this approach has also filtered down to the emerging City Plan policies as well as into an anticipated Supplementary Planning Document for Oxford Street expected some time in 2020.
James Cooksey (Crown Estate), Jace Tyrrell (New West End Company), and Sacha Berendji (Marks & Spencer) contributed to a panel discussion focusing on the challenges of how the Oxford Street will need to be a well-managed, clean, tidy, safe and secure environment. These factors will be crucial for creating an experience beyond retail that will tempt back domestic shoppers and families who now go elsewhere.
The New West End Company also briefly presented #OxfordStreet2022, a new report revealing the upcoming investments, new openings and major refurbishments being made in the area that will ensure its future as a leading retail and leisure destination.