Parking in central London can be expensive and a drag. But I have nothing against small green cars and even these need somewhere to park. So underground car parks like the one in Cavendish Square just behind John Lewis and Oxford Street should provide a model for other developments. This was rather miraculously built after the war, managing to maintain the fine Plain trees which now sit on top of the spiral car park. (There is a similar car park in Russel Square which is one of the oldest squares in London - but that is a double spiral!). Even on a gloomy day like today Cavendish Square provided a green respite from central London's hustle and bustle.
However the car park itself is gloomy and needs sprucing. And the square, which is potentially beautiful, is cut off for pedestrians by roads on all sides. I think that Westminster councillors must hate pedestrians. They certainly have a fear of pedestrianisation and here the roads and footways have been configured so that there is NO WAY to access the gardens except by taking your life in your hands across traffic lanes. There are no pedestrian crossing or lights.
Yet the roads around here are only local distributor roads. There is no need for traffic around here to go fast!
The New West End Company have obviously recognised the problem and in 2005 they conjured up a scheme with adjoining landowners Marchday Group PLC who are the freeholders of the square. But since what is reported to have been a positive consultation nothing more has been heard.
It is simple schemes and partnerships like this could progressively improve central London, but Westminster, one of the richest of London Boroughs drags its feet.
What New West End Company realises, and what Westminster Councillors should understand is that Oxford Street is losing out to the dead - but admittedly convenient - hand of places like Bluewater. Central London has no God-given right to remain central. The website gives no credits to the designers of the proposals. (They probably were not paid anything!)
I'm sending this article to New West End Company and to my councillor - I am a Westminster ratepayer. So we'll see what response we get. (If any)