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Mayor: Oxford Street pedestrianisation axe a 'betrayal'

The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has labelled Westminster City Council’s decision to withdraw its support for the planned pedestrianisation of Oxford Street a “betrayal”.

The council revealed yesterday that it did not support the full-scale pedestrianisation of London’s famous shopping street.

In response, Mr Khan said: “This will be seen as a betrayal of the millions of Londoners and visitors to our city who would have benefited from making Oxford Street a safer, healthier and better environment.

“All the main mayoral candidates agreed on the need for the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street at the last election, as did Westminster Council until today.

“The project was a good example of two political parties putting politics aside, working together to improve our city for everyone.

Westminister council leader Conservative Nickie Aiken hit back at Mr Khan’s claims stating that the decision was taken as a result of a public consultation with those that lived and worked in the borough.

“I utterly reject any suggestion that there is any kind of betrayal”, she said.

“Quite the contrary, we are sticking up for the people who know best, those who live and work in the district.

“It was clear through two public consultations and recent council elections that local people do not support the pedestrianisation proposals.

“Westminster City Council is hugely ambitious for Oxford Street and we will do everything we can to ensure the district’s long-term success in the face of a challenging and ever-changing economic and retail environment.

“We will now look to develop fresh plans to achieve this, but we can confirm that the council does not support the full-scale pedestrianisation of Oxford Street and believes a rethink of the whole strategy is now required.”

She added that the council was now developing its own proposals for the area and would share them with residents, business and visitors in the early autumn.

Yesterday the London Assembly unanimously passed a motion calling on Sadiq Khan to urge the government to end the use of desktop studies to assess the fire rating of materials.

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