Opps – Oxford Street consultation report withdrawn after responses were not counted

The Fitzrovia News  – report by Linus Rees 

A report analysing the responses to a consultation on the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street has had to be withdrawn after it was discovered Transport for London gave out an incorrect email address for respondents to use.

Last week Val Shawcross, deputy mayor for transport, hailed the results of the consultation as a success and said the plans would create “one of the finest public spaces and shopping streets in the world”.

But celebrations at City Hall were short-lived and on Monday TfL removed the report from its website and issued a statement saying many people’s views went missing.

“This was because we published this [email] address, by error, on our consultation web page as one method of submitting a response. We apologise unreservedly for this,” said the statement.

TfL is now asking people who may have used the incorrect email address to resubmit their response by Friday 6 April.

This major error was only discovered when community groups contacted TfL to ask why their responses were not included in the appendices to the report. They also asked questions about why some of the statistics presented did not add up correctly.

 

The views of the Marylebone Association and the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum, which represents residents and business which would be the most adversely affected by the displacement of Oxford Street traffic into their areas, were missing from the report along with an unknown number of other responses.

The Mayor of London’s commitment to pedestrianise Oxford Street is being fiercely resisted by local residents who want congestion and pollution reduced over a much wider area instead of shifting the problems into side streets.

Most people living in the surrounding streets do not own or use private vehicles yet they complain their districts are blighted by a high volume of through traffic and say the Mayor’s plans will make matters worse by adding vehicles to serve Oxford Street.

Cycling groups have also criticised the plans because the thousands of people who use Oxford Street everyday to travel east and west along it will be diverted along a circuit of back streets and along an unknown parallel route some way north of the shopping street.

An email from Westminster council sent to community groups in Fitzrovia and Marylebone, and seen by Fitzrovia News, says the council had asked TfL to remove the report so the missing responses could be traced and other criticisms of the report investigated.

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