London Update: Bond and Oxford Streets
New development schemes are being planned for the London shopping areas of Bond Street and Oxford Street. Both of the plans have been under the review of the Westminster Planning Council. The new plans are set to coincide with the arrival of the Elizabeth rail line and the new pedestrian traffic that will bring more shoppers and tourists to the area.
The one and a half acre area known as the ‘South Molton Triangle’ in London Mayfair is set for a new series of developments featuring new homes, shops and offices adjacent to Bond Street with Brook Street, South Molton Lane and Davies Street. The plan is to make the West End district more exclusive for Londoners.
The Evening Standard reports that landowners Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, founded in 1677 and owned by the Duke of Westminster, will begin consultations with residents and planners for their ideas for the new development and cite the areas “significant potential” as the reason to increase the height and density of the buildings and as the new Elizabeth line will be bringing more pedestrians and shoppers to the Bond Street location.
Speaking with the ES Simon Harding-Roots, Grosvenor’s executive director:
“Our proposals are at a very early stage and we want to encourage feedback on how new investment could best serve the community above and beyond the opportunity to better manage increased pedestrian numbers. It is important to us that local voices are incorporated into the planning submission we will ultimately make.
“The West End is currently ill-equipped to cope with the levels of pedestrian traffic we already see every day, let alone the arrival of thousands of extra visitors expected from the Elizabeth line. Many of Mayfair’s pavements are too narrow, routes were built for a different era and, perhaps counter-intuitively, there are not enough services for those living in and visiting the area.
"We recognise the potential of the South Molton Triangle to address a number of the issues the local community faces. By proposing new investment here, we will be able to better protect and enhance the character and simple enjoyment of living and working in one of the most desirable places in London and the West End.”
“Opposite this site, Grosvenor are also developing 65,000 square feet of office space at 65 Davies Street. This also includes the home of The Rifles Club – a private members club which was founded by the 1st Duke of Westminster in 1890. The plans to build a luxury hotel on the former site of the club have led to complaints from members who argue that The Rifles Club has enjoyed a long history in the area.”
Consultations with local residents, businesses and planners will continue into the autumn with an application for the plans plans will be submitted for review by the Westminster Council next spring.
Architects with Sir Michael Hopkins will be projects planners and are previously known for the Wellcome Trust building in Euston Road and Portcullis House opposite Parliament.
The Westminster council is reviewing an "ambitious vision" for Oxford Street that will transform the district Oxford Street from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch. The council has set aside £727,000 to help plan for the new development. Fashion United reports that the scheme :
"...will include more space for people to enjoy “new and reinvigorated public places that are greener, less polluted, and seamlessly connected to each other and the wider West End."
“...enhance the rich heritage of this historic area” with complementary changes in planning policy to enable greater diversity that will bring “new vibrancy, new life and sustainable economic growth with innovative retail experiences at the core of the offer”.
Councillor Nickie Aiken, leader of Westminster City Council:
“Our exciting vision and the plans we have agreed for the Oxford Street district will give residents and businesses the certainty they want as we deliver ambitious plans that will improve and future proof Oxford Street for many generations to come. There is a necessity to vastly enhance the overall experience for residents, workers and those visiting the district and this is the focus of the new project."
“Our fresh scheme will respond to safety issues related to the opening of the Elizabeth Line and will then transform the Oxford Street district into a global, iconic destination.”
It is expected that the new plan will be done in four phases with the council performing an audit and working with local residents and businesses to establish priorities and overall vision of the new plans.
Also the issue of pedestrian safety as the new Elizabeth rail line station at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street which will open in December 2018.
Councillor Nickie Aiken:
“Our coherent and district wide solution will be much more than a transport scheme. It will ensure Oxford Street retains its status as the nation’s high street in a rapidly evolving retail environment and is renowned as a must visit destination by visitors from London, the UK and overseas.”
However London Mayor Sadiq Khan says that this area should be traffic free and for pedestrians only which the Westminster Council considered earlier in the year and the request by Mayor Khan was turned down.
Mayor Sadiq Khan:
“This will be seen as a betrayal of the million of Londoners and visitors to our city who would have benefited from making Oxford Street a safer, healthier and better environment. All of the main mayoral candidates agreed on the need for the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street at the last election, as did Westminster Council."