Oxford Circus will be transformed into two pedestrian-friendly piazzas as part of plans unveiled by Westminster City Council and the Crown Estate today.
The scheme is also set to include "significant improvements" to the public spaces in and around Oxford Circus, with additional planting and seating to encourage dwell time, which could positively impact the wealth of hospitality operators in the area, as well as improved access to Oxford Circus tube station.
The new piazzas will be the subject of an international design competition, with works to begin later in the year.
The plans will be delivered through a phased approach, starting with two ‘car-free' piazzas on Oxford Street, either end of the Circus, hoped to be completed by end of 2021. Roads will be closed 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. Traffic will continue along Regent Street, north and south of Oxford Circus.
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."