Plans have been announced for a 25m high artificial hill to be built at the western end of Oxford Street in London when lockdown ends. The climbable mound of soil will have a viewing platform, and an event and exhibition space. It will be in place throughout the summer of 2021, with the aim of drawing shoppers back to the famous street.
The plan is part of a wider scheme to revamp Oxford Street, which like all physical retail spaces in the UK, has suffered during the lockdown. Some of the most well-known names, such as Debenhams and Topshop, have shut down permanently after going into administration, leaving large empty premises.
Westminster City Council are investing £150m in the area, and as well as the Marble Arch hill, they are working with partners to make other improvements. These include the widening of pedestrian spaces, and extra lighting. Once the hill has been dismantled, the greenery and trees will be located to other parts of the district.
Jace Tyrell, the chief executive of New West End Company which represents retailers around Oxford, Bond, and Regent Streets, commented:
“The past 12 months have been the toughest on record for businesses on Oxford Street and the surrounding area, and these ambitious plans are a sign of a forward thinking, sustainable and agile future for the district, creating an altogether stronger and more exciting high street that caters to the needs of the ever-evolving consumer.”
Future plans also involve a zero-emissions transport network, and greater support for start-ups, the re-purposing of buildings, and expanded cultural and leisure facilities.
Westminster City Council leader Rachel Robathan said: “We are confident that our bold plans will secure the District’s long-term success, running alongside our creative, interim plans to boost the capital’s post pandemic recovery.”
The plans had already been formed before the pandemic took hold, and in spring 2021, they appear to be more pertinent than ever.
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