Oxford Street - Phase 1

Description of Works

FM Conway were tasked by Westminster City Council to design and implement safety improvements to Oxford Street from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road with the following aims:

  • Increasing public space
  • Improving the existing drainage system
  • Improving existing lighting facilities
  • Carrying out enabling works in advance of the Oxford Street District Scheme, Crossrail, Baker Street Two Way Scheme, Bond Street Station Improvements and the West End Project

As FM Conway were undertaking both design and build, a streamlined approach was implemented managing all aspects of the project. This also included stakeholder engagement, road space applications and collaboration with utility companies, private developers and ongoing maintenance activities.

Delivering Innovation

With an initial budget of £3m, our Consultancy engineers undertook a full review of the existing situation. They then commissioned and assessed the site investigations required, to produce and cost a comprehensive set of proposals and construction pack to improve the Oxford Street built environment for all users.

In addition to the general upgrade of the full length of Oxford Street, a number of specific locations were identified for the design and implementation of widened footways, implementation of loading pads and amendments to junction signal arrangements. These included sections adjacent to Bond Street Station and Tottenham Court Road Station. For these areas, a more detailed design pack was produced requiring ground modelling and a full level design. By understanding which areas required a higher level of information, we were able to add efficiencies into the design process and project programme.

Site investigations and subsequent actions included:

  • Review and identification of all utility covers, with over 150 identified as damaged or failing. Plus, the replacement or rebuild where needed and implementation of a reinforced carriageway surround which carried a five-year guarantee.
  • Jetting and CCTV surveys of over 250 road and footway gullies identifying faults and remedial measures, including 15 deep drainage proposals and 36 fault repairs.
  • Review of 32 hopper boxes with a view to remove where practical, to reduce future maintenance requirements.
  • Review of all 95 tree pits with a view to removing old style grates and replacing them with a standardised resin bound aggregate, to increase the usable footway space available and remove litter traps.
  • Footway and carriageway lighting surveys and proposals for improvements, including trial holes for new column locations.
  • Review of street furniture with the aim of consolidating, decluttering and addressing third party maintenance issues.
  • Refresh of all road markings to the full 2km of Oxford Street, with amendments to improve clarity and safety.
  • Review of all footway paving, identifying failing areas and the design of approximately 10,000m² of new footway paving.
  • Pre-condition basement surveys, pavement visual assessments, carriageway core samples and analysis.
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Challenges and Solutions

With Oxford Street being a high-profile location for Westminster and the high number of Stakeholders with an interest in the scheme, FM Conway implemented an efficient communication plan that involved close collaboration with authorities such as TfL and businesses. A dedicated scheme public liaison officer also added huge benefit to the project, managing stakeholders and facilitating the continued operation of the many businesses that operate on and around Oxford Street.

A high-profile location such as Oxford Street has many pressures to be considered when implementing a scheme, therefore a collaborative approach was developed with TfL buses, signals and network management teams for implementation. This included cyclical night closures, bus stop suspensions and utilisation of available space and also directional closures.

The project programme also accounted for the many activities that take place on Oxford Street including festivals, key shopping events, store launch events and the installation of Christmas lights.

This scheme also benefited from the close working and continuous collaboration between the FM Conway consultancy engineers and designers, with our contracts managers and operations teams. Westminster City Council as the client were as an integral part of this productive working relationship.



The works to Oxford Street are ongoing and will continue to improve the user experience, improve safety, reduce liability concerns and provide efficiencies and savings in maintenance. The scheme has also acted as a valuable data gathering exercise to benefit future proposals in the area.

Oxford Street Phase 1 has been well received with compliments and thanks from clients and stakeholders for the approach taken. This scheme has proven a good example of the benefits that can be provided by the FM Conway self-delivery model.

A number of apprentices have been included in both the design and operations teams, giving them the chance to experience working in a busy and high-profile area with all the challenges this brings. We have also held work experience days where young professionals can see the full design and implementation process in action.

This is another example of our commitment to developing the next generation of highways professionals, with all round knowledge of how to both design and build.