We, Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville, West End Labour candidates, continue to oppose the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street because residents’ concerns have not been answered by Westminster Council’s leaders, by Transport for London (TfL) nor by the Mayor of London.
Westminster Council are entirely responsible for Oxford Street. The plans could never have got this far in the face of residents’ fears without Conservative Council leaders, including Nickie Aiken and Robert Davis and their colleagues, fully supporting it.
We oppose the plans; they should be paused and all options remain on the table.
The West End Labour team believe there has been:
- insufficient information or planning on traffic displacement,
- a lack of ideas on how those with limited mobility will continue to enjoy Oxford Street
- uncertainty on safety on Oxford Street at night.
- later night visitors to Soho needing buses would have to walk a few blocks north past Oxford Street increasing potential related ASB into Fitzrovia and other wards.
- the consultations appear to residents to be rushed and unprofessional. This has made residents fear they were not being listened to.
- ideas to improve Oxford Street need to include the whole area to reduce traffic, including how they could enhance life Fitzrovia, Mayfair and Soho and beyond.
West End Labour’s position has consistently put residents of the West End first.
For years of Conservative rule in Westminster residents have not been allowed a voice and the council has had far to close a relationship with powerful property developers. The Conservatives had years to oppose pedestrianisation and put forward alternatives – and they have done nothing.
The West End Labour Team have been listening to residents for over 2 years, having thousands of conversations. We have consistently said we would oppose the plans if residents’ genuine fears about traffic displacement are not addressed; if those with limited mobility are not able to access Oxford Street fully and if ASB is not reduced. We have raised these issue for many months with TfL and the Mayor.
It is now time to pause the scheme and continue to listen to residents.
Failure to do so could ruin Oxford Street itself and the 1,000 businesses that are already threatened by out of town shopping malls and crippling rent and business rates.
Rushing could also ruin the wonderful character and lives of many in neighbouring areas of Fitzrovia, Soho and Mayfair who we seek to represent.
We have spoken to thousands of residents and they want less pollution, cleaner air, less traffic and fewer accidents for the whole area, not just moving traffic around.
We have consistently passed on these concerns to TfL and the Mayor. If elected we will continue to put residents of Soho, Fitzrovia and Mayfair at the heart of decisions, not the big property developers.
Pancho Lewis, Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville
Labour’s West End Ward Candidates