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Labour candidates oppose mayor over Oxford Street pedestrianisation

Ahead of May 3 vote, Tories also claim to oppose Sadiq Khan's 'vanity project'

27 April, 2018 — By Tom Foot

How a pedestrianised Oxford Street could look

LABOUR candidates contesting the key West End marginal ward have defied London Mayor Sadiq Khan by opposing his plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street.

Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville said they “could not support these proposals” until a long list of residents’ concerns are resolved. They were responding to a list of questions from the Soho Society ahead of the organisation’s hustings last night (Thursday). Each of the candidates were asked for their views on key issues affecting Soho including over-development, late licensing and pedicabs.

The Labour candidates’ joint response added: “When Westminster’s Conservative-run council embarked upon this joint venture with TfL it was made very clear that Oxford Street is Westminster’s road and no pedestrian plans can take place without the council’s full approval.

“Before stepping aside from his role, whilst investigations continue following stories in the national media, Conservative Cabinet Member Councillor Robert Davis said he wanted to create ‘the world’s best outdoor shopping experience’.”

Westminster Labour candidates and supporters on the campaign trail outside Pimlico tube station on Saturday, ahead of next week’s local elections

Cllr Davis has described the Oxford Street pedestrianisation as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”. It is such a hot topic in the West End that a single-issue party has been set up to oppose it and is fielding candidates in three wards.

Cllr Davis’s colleague on the council, Conservative councillor Jonathan Glanz, said: “My view is that Oxford Street is Mayor Khan’s vanity project being imposed on the West End against its will. Whilst there is certainly room for improvement on Oxford Street, the current scheme as proposed does not address these problems and I do not support it.”

Conservative candidate Hilary Su said: “Sixty-one per cent of the ward residents have voted against the pedestrianisation. Our action should reflect their will.”

Tim Barnes said: “While I don’t object to pedestrianisation on principle, the current proposals are inadequate and should be stopped.”

Mayfair Action group chairman and campaign veteran Ron Whelan, who is standing for Campaign Against Pedestrianisation of Oxford Street in the West End ward, said: “I oppose pedestrianisation because it will create chaos in nearby streets and yield little economic benefit to the West End.”

The Green Party’s Minne Fry and the three Lib Dem candidates – Florian Chevoppe-Verdier, Sophie Taylor and Alan Ravenscroft – all support Oxford Street pedestrianisation.

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