Driving cars out of Soho

3 September 2015, Blog

First it was Oxford Street. Now London’s mayoral hopefuls are adding Soho to their transport and planning policy ambitions. An idea first floated by former minister for transport and once-rumoured mayoral candidate Andrew Adonis – pedestrianising Oxford Street –  is an idea being extended by some to include the capital’s famous culture spot.

Christian Wolmar is one candidate calling for this, claiming that taking vehicles off the roads in Soho – famous for its small and winding streets – would make the area a more attractive place. Wolmar, adding to his own support for a traffic-free Oxford Street, said the proposal is “a different way of thinking of urban planning and thinking how do we design an attractive city for 20 years’ time, rather than thinking ‘how do we accommodate all this traffic.’”

Wolmar accepts that the plans would require considerable cooperation between the Mayor and Westminster Council, as the area’s smaller streets were not under the control of Transport for London. Notably, Westminster Council reversed partial pedestrianisation which happened in the 1990s. The ‘Save Soho’ campaign, launched earlier this year with backers including Stephen Fry, is calling on the Government to act for an area “in danger of losing its identity”.

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