Oxford Street to see revamp after ‘devastating’ failed Marble Arch Mound

By Hannah Neary, Local Democracy Reporter

Plans to revamp Oxford Street have been unveiled by a town hall as it pledges to learn from the mistakes made with the infamous Marble Arch Mound.

Westminster City council has announced new plans to boost the city’s most iconic shopping district and make it more attractive to visitors.

The authority has spent £35.72m on regenerating the Oxford Street area so far, including £6m of public money on the mound under Tory leadership.

The newly-elected Labour administration recently announced it was launching an independent review into the future of the area

The Oxford Street District programme was supposed to boost footfall in the West End after 20 per cent of shops were forced to shut on the famous strip during the pandemic.

The council now plans to boost the stretch with wider pavements, more seating, extra plants and improved lighting, according to a statement by the council’s cabinet member for planning and environment, Geoff Barraclough.

He said: “A new, streamlined approach will be taken to the way the council invests taxpayers’ money in the Oxford Street area.

“Over the past few months, we have been looking at the previous Oxford Street District programme and assessing how best to proceed with improvements and reap the potential benefits for the area, including from the full opening of the Elizabeth Line.

“Oxford Street needs better public realm, pedestrian comfort and safety. It must also remain an attractive, diverse hub of activity and culture that serves the changing needs and interests of residents, visitors and businesses alike.”

An investigation into the Marble Arch Mound last year found the soaring costs were “devastating” and “avoidable”.

Mike Cooke, the former chief executive of Camden council, is set to carry out an independent review of the Oxford Street District programme to see what lessons can be learned. 

Pictured top: Westminster City council’s offices in Victoria (Picture: Hannah Neary)

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