London mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street have been halted by Westminster council branding the project “unacceptable”. Residents living around the busy central London location are worried that the closure of Oxford Street will force taxis, buses and other traffic into smaller, and already congested, side roads creating gridlock on their doorstep. Sadiq Khan wanted to start work pedestrianising the famous stretch of shops starting with the western end of Oxford Street later this year. Several busy taxi ranks were due to be lost and relocated into side roads one which included the Selfridges rank. The cabinet member at Westminster Council for Oxford Street, Daniel Astaire, has now given orders to cease any further plans or work on the project. During a recent council meeting last week the cabinet member said: “TfL and the Mayor are the main proponents of the changes to the street, but it belongs to the council and the decision rests with us. “I have informed them, much to some surprise, that detailed work on a scheme is to be stopped. They had even wanted to appoint an artist to design street concept art, but I have stopped this too. At present there is no scheme nor a proposal which is acceptable to the council.” Plans to pedestrianise have come under severe pressure from the taxi industry who have had grave concerns about the proposals also citing plans to exclude taxis from nearby Tottenham Court Road.
Richard Massett, chairman of the LTDA, said in November 2017: “The loss of taxi access to this section of Oxford Street will cause considerable inconvenience to disabled passengers, many of whom rely upon London’s fully-accessible taxi fleet to get around safely and conveniently. The door-to-door service that taxis offer are also relied upon by the millions of tourists who visit Oxford Street every year. Their needs have clearly not been considered."