Retailers want help to pull Oxford Street out of a retail slump.

Retailers want help to pull Oxford Street out of a retail slump.

Amid demands for new council boundaries along Oxford Street, the iconic shopping strip's landlords are calling for action from councils and the Roads and Maritime Services to help rescue the area from a retail slump.

So many people are passionate about wanting Paddington to come back. People drive through now and they get upset. 

Galvanised by what is seen as slow reaction to the street's slide into decay, some of the street's key property players and stakeholders hope that councils and traffic agencies will act upon initiatives suggested in a draft roadmap for the recovery of the street, which recommends a single place manager to oversee the street's future, changes in land use, a slower speed limit and a raft of measures to breathe life into the ailing precinct's underused spaces.

Developer Theo Onisforou says ideas for Oxford Street's revival usually fail to materialise.

Developer Theo Onisforou says ideas for Oxford Street's revival usually fail to materialise. Photo: Lidia Nikonova

The Activate Oxford Street report, drawn up by urban planning experts Village Well, was commissioned by Woollahra Council and went to public feedback on March 6. The public consultation process ends on Friday and it is hoped feedback will encourage councils to fund the changes, estimated to initially cost $750,000 to $1 million.

Peter Sullivan, whose family owns the Arts Hotel, welcomes the report as a way to bring the street's many voices together.

''That has traditionally been the problem of Oxford Street, it's a series of small shops, they're often owner operators. They are people with strong views, if you have 50 of them in a room, you have 50 different opinions.''

Robby Ingham, fashion retailer and 30-year tenant on the street, says the report's recommendations for street beautification and giving Paddington a more ''villagey'' feel are vital for its future.

''So many people are passionate about wanting Paddington to come back. People drive through now and they get upset. There's a lot of momentum building there.''

But while the report has largely been welcomed, some have questioned Woollahra Council's handling of the project.

The draft went through multiple iterations before being released to the public, a request from the council that one insider said was "highly unethical".

"If you engage an independent consultant, you then can't tinker with that to suit your own public needs," the source said. Its authors are understood to have charged well below the going rate, with council minutes showing that no more than $70,000 was set aside for the research.

Gilbert Rochecouste, Village Well's world-leading urban planning expert, said working on the report with the council has largely been about effecting change within a council that is naturally risk averse.

"Council wheels turn in ways that everything has to be ticked off," he said. "This is really a confidence building exercise, confidence to invest in Oxford Street.''

Multimillionaire James Packer associate, developer Theo Onisforou, who has called for Woollahra to cede its portion of Paddington to the City of Sydney, takes little comfort in Activate Oxford Street's recommendations.

"It's no use having ideas because they won't be implemented," he said. "I've been writing letters to [Woollahra Council] guys for ten years and ultimately nothing has been done."