Plans for Oxford Circus reinvention unveiled

Oxford Circus is set to be transformed into two, pedestrian-friendly piazzas as part of plans unveiled by Westminster City Council and The Crown Estate.

The new piazzas will become London’s ‘front door’ and will be the subject of an international design competition.

Works on the transformed Circus will begin later in the year with the scheme also set to include:

  • Delivering significant improvements to the public spaces in and around Oxford Circus, creating more pleasant places to eat, drink, shop and enjoy the centre of the city.
  • Introducing additional planting and seating to improve the overall look and feel of the area and encourage dwell time.
  • Significant improvements to public realm, including working with Transport for London to create improved access to Oxford Circus tube station.
  • Road closure through the introduction of Experimental Traffic Orders, between Oxford Circus and Gt. Portland Street to the East, and Oxford Circus and John Princes Street to the West, turning it into a pedestrian-first zone.
  • The launch of the RIBA International Design Competition in Summer 2021 to deliver the final scheme, ensuring ‘world class’ designs and value for money. The competition will be run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and will be a fully open competition, inviting entries from around the world.

The reinvention of the Circus as a world-leading, forward-facing, urban space, is the latest step in the council’s ambitious plans to revive Oxford Street and the wider District, for its vision for a greener, smarter future for the West End.

The new Oxford Circus plans 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 by end of 2021.

Westminster has already committed £150m to kickstart the OSD programmes and attract inward investment, taking full advantage of the Elizabeth Line opening in 2022 and the area’s links to the wider West End and beyond. 

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.

Dan Labbad, chief executive at The Crown Estate, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Westminster to deliver a transformation of what I think we all recognise as one of the most iconic locations in the World. It is essential, as we rebuild our capital, that we create places that better serve all those who use them – improving air quality, reducing congestion, prioritising safety and delivering a world class visitor experience.

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