The latest wheeze to tempt weekend shoppers back to Oxford Street and Regent Street? Ban traffic on Sundays.
Local business owners, spooked at seeing their customers rush to the commodious Westfields that lie a handful of stops in either direction on the Central line, are hoping that banishing vehicles and turning the two streets into pedestrianised plazas will make the shopping experience a more pleasant one. Traffic bans currently happen on a Saturday each December to aid the pre-Christmas crush, but the New West End Company, which represents around 600 local businesses, thinks doing it every Sunday will make for a more relaxed environment and encourage more people to visit throughout the year.
In the annals of wacky ways to improve the West End, it's not the most outrageous idea. Previous suggestions have included pedestrian speed lanes and building a tram that rattles up and down Oxford Street. The New West End Company has ambitious plans, and last year released a document showing how the area might look in 2020. Yet the popularity of Westfield Stratford suggests that all the scramble crossing and pedestrian zones in the world might not tempt shoppers back.
Photo / murphyz