77% WESTMINSTER RESIDENTS AGAINST, OR HAVE CONCERNS, 81% BUSINESS OWNERS AGAINST, OR WITH CONCERNS
The long awaited results of the second Oxford Street consultation which closed over 2 months ago have finally been released. It is now apparent why it has taken so long, because within it is one big, unmissable message for the Mayor – the West End Does Not Want It.
61% of Westminster residents voted against, with a further 16% having unanswered concerns. 68% of businesses voted against with 13% concerned. Indeed only 23% of residents supported it. Businesses were even more damning, giving it a mere 19% support.
Even nationally TfL could only muster 48% for pedestrianisation, with 52% against or having concerns. And this in the face of concerted and co-ordinated campaigning from various pro-pedestrianisation groups, a protracted and one sided media campaign from TfL, including public adverts on 11 of London’s radio stations and the 3 major London papers, posters and roadshows, all offering only the pro-pedestrianisation argument.
These figures torpedo any mandate to proceed with the present scheme. The question has been asked, and the answer is clear: the scheme in its present form must not go ahead. This is a warning to the Mayor and WCC to abandon it in compliance with the will of the majority of those who would have to suffer the consequences. Indeed it is apparent from the lack of endorsement of the proposals, or any recommendation, that there are major concerns, even amongst those trying to push this through.
The Mayor must be reminded what he said last year to the London Assembly:
“Yes, it is of upmost importance to consult with local residents, businesses and those who travel to and through the district”
WCC should also be reminded of the words of the Leader of the Council in November 2017 to the Westminster Amenity Societies Forum:
“I can assure you we are listening…that no matter what anyone may think Oxford Street is not a done deal.”
It is now most important, having had a consultation, that this is not seen to be a done deal pushed thorough in spite of the message sent back from it. It is essential, that having been asked, the voice of the West End it is not ignored, that the Mayor and WCC listen to the outcome of the consultation, and pay attention to it.