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Design guardian appointed for Oxford Street

Words: Laura Edgar
Oxford Street / iStock-458974621

Westminster City Council has appointed urban design consultancy Publica as design guardian for the public realm of the Oxford Street District. 

In this advisory role, the firm will be required to provide strategic oversight to shape the holistic design and delivery of the council’s £235 million plan to strengthen the district’s “iconic status” as one of the world’s leading places to live, visit, shop and work.

Last year, the council approved a place strategy and delivery plan for the district. Also produced by Publica and developed with local stakeholders, the plan sets out how the area around Oxford Street can be improved, including flagship public realm schemes at Oxford Circus and Marble Arch.

The council says that the appointment of a design guardian is aimed at ensuring a consistent design approach across the programme, as well as the integration of sustainable and inclusive design-led approaches to support the council’s objectives for the district. The work is ongoing and includes adaptation to the impacts of Covid-19, it added.

The programme seeks to create a district that has "a diverse range of high-quality streetscapes to support all aspects of public life; support economic vitality, including through new technologies; a cleaner and healthier area; and is a fully accessible and walkable district.

Leader of the council Rachael Robathan said: “This project has only grown in importance in the wake of the pandemic which has left many of the country’s businesses struggling. The ambitious plans we are developing will see the Oxford Street District revitalised for residents and our city’s millions of visitors and secure its global reputation as the place to enjoy London’s finest retail, leisure and culture. We will incorporate innovative smart city ideas and aim to boost air quality by being one of the greenest schemes worldwide.

“Publica share our vision, understand the challenges we face and the delicate balance that must be struck to ensure our ambitious plans work for residents, businesses and visitors alike.”

Image credit | iStock