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We need the transformation of Oxford Street

05 January, 2018

Peter Hartley, Chair of Westminster Living Streets

• I FULLY appreciate the concerns of residents around Oxford Street as the welcome pedestrianisation approaches but they must understand they are not the only stakeholders (Pedestrian debate goes on, December 22).

There are millions of us who use the street every week and frankly Oxford Street is no longer “fit for purpose” and its ills need urgent surgery by the removal of traffic in all its forms. How else are we to deal with the continual collisions week on week and the simply awful air pollution which is killing us.

Just reflect for a moment on Antony Porter’s December 14 letter (Terrible toll on Westminster’s roads is getting worse by the year) confirming the horrifying road toll of 1,776 casualties in London alone with 13 dying. The displacement argument just does not stand up any more and the Mayor of London’s traffic modelling is broadly neutral.

Some streets will be busier and others less so. In any case streets around Oxford Street have been used as rat-runs by motorists for years without a word from residents and some simple filtering would keep most of the traffic on main roads.

I have been fortunate to live and work in the West End for most of my life so I know the area as well as anyone. I recognised that in exchange for the benefits of being in the centre of the greatest city in the world I would occasionally have to put up with some inconvenience and am prepared to do so.

I would ask residents to reflect on the choice they have made by living here and realise that they have to take account of the needs and wishes of the rest of the country.

The Mayor and Westminster Council have at last realised that we need to act and congratulations to them. We now need all the local community to come on side and welcome the transformation of Oxford Street.

Chair, Westminster Living Streets


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