Westminster Council’s deputy mayor has slammed plans by London mayor Sadiq Khan to pedestrianise Oxford Street
Khan made the pledge during his election campaign earlier this year and last month Valerie Shawcross, deputy mayor of London for transport, said the plans would be fully implemented by 2020.
But Robert Davis, deputy leader and cabinet member for the built environment at Westminster Council said that major obstacles stood in the way of the project.
Davis told the AJ: ‘We realised that doing nothing is not an option and had five or six options for Oxford Street which we were modelling with the old mayor.
‘The problem is where do you move the buses and taxis? If you move them into, say, Wigmore Street – which is already chock-a-block – then you are just moving the problem elsewhere. There are 75 bus routes on Oxford Street and about 270 buses an hour.
‘The new mayor has said the one election promise he can deliver is Oxford Street, but we’ve sat down with him and explained it’s not that easy. He’s looking for a headline and has just said “Let’s pedestrianise Oxford Street” without any knowledge of it.’
Davis also pointed out that the mayor has no legal right to impose his plan on Oxford Street.
He said: ‘It is a Westminster site, so this is like me coming to your home and telling you how to turn your living room around. Residents are also pissed off they’ve not been consulted.’
He said that if Khan tried to change the law to enable him to impose the changes, it would mean missing his own deadline for completing the work.
Khan proposed the pedestrianisation scheme as part of a strategy to tackle air pollution in the city.
The full interview with Robert Davis will appear in this week’s AJ