Plans to ban traffic from Oxford Street in London have been rejected by Westminster Council, putting the scheme in jeopardy.
London mayor Sadiq Khan had intended to pedestrianise Europe’s busiest shopping destination from late this year, starting with an 800-metre section at the western end from Oxford Circus to Orchard Street, near Marble Arch.
However residents in Marylebone, Fitzrovia and Mayfair raised concerned that diverted buses, cabs and delivery vans will create gridlock on nearby roads.
Westminster’s cabinet member for Oxford Street, Daniel Astaire, has told officials to stop working on the pedestrianisation plan. At a full council meeting Mr Astaire said: 'TfL (Transport for London) and the mayor are the main proponents of the changes to the street, but it belongs to the council and the decision rests with us.
'I have informed them — much to some surprise — that detailed work on a scheme is to be stopped. They had even wanted to appoint an artist to design street concept art, but I have stopped this too. At present there is no scheme nor a proposal which is acceptable to the council.'
Mr Astaire is due to step down this week.
A spokesman for the mayor said: 'The Transformation of Oxford Street is a joint project between Westminster council, TfL and the Mayor… We continue to work closely with Westminster council to look at all the latest consultation responses in detail, and ensure everyone’s views are taken on board before a final proposed scheme is presented.'
TfL bosses initially claimed that the the most recent consultation on the issue — between 6 November and 3 January — revealed 64% outright or partial support for pedestrianisation.
However, it later emerged that many responses from residents had not been recorded because TfL had given out an incorrect email address. The deadline for responses was extended to April 6.