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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 December 2006, 11:07 GMT
Traffic ban to pack in shoppers
Oxford Street
About 40m shoppers visit London's West End over the festive season.
London's best known shopping area has been made entirely traffic free for the first time enabling shoppers to enjoy a day out without dodging vehicles.

Oxford Street and Regent Street was open to pedestrians only from 1030 GMT until 1700 GMT.

The day was dubbed West End VIP Day - Very Important Pedestrians.

Organisers said the traffic-free event brought in an estimated one million shoppers, with some shop bosses reporting increased sales.

Redevelopment plans

Oxford Street was closed to traffic from Portman Street to Tottenham Court Road, with Regent Street shut between Margaret Street and Piccadilly Circus.

Buses in the area were also diverted.

Welcoming the initiative Mayor Ken Livingstone said: "The West End is the world's leading shopping destination, and is one of London's key assets.

"It draws people in from outside the capital and from abroad and offers a range and choice you can find nowhere else. This is never clearer than at this time of year."

The idea is part of major plans to draw customers back to London's main shopping areas and challenge competition from increasingly popular out-of-town retail parks.

Other plans include the redevelopment of Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road Tube stations and converting Marble Arch into a large public space.

More ambitious plans include having a tram link running along Oxford Street.




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