Shopping village plan ‘will hit trade in city’

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

BOSSES at Oxford’s Westgate Shopping Centre have opposed plans for the expansion of Bicester Village, claiming it will damage trade in the city.

Two planning bids have been launched, one for a new 8,135sqm Tesco store opposite its current position on the A41 and another for 28 new shops in place of the existing store.

The objections have come from the Westgate Oxford Alliance, a group formed by the co-owners of the site Land Securities Group and the Crown Estate.

Donal McCabe, director of communications for the Land Securities Group, said: “At the moment, Bicester Village is great for Oxfordshire, and it’s a massive draw.

“But we have to be careful not to allow it to become so big it destroys the areas around it.

“All we’re saying is they need to bear that in mind. Bicester is currently a great asset, and Oxford has great potential.”

London-based planning consultancy Turley Associates has objected to both applications on behalf of the alliance.

Director Sarah Stevens raised concerns the expansion of Bicester Village would have an adverse impact on shops in Oxford city centre.

She said: “Our client is concerned about the introduction of 28 new retailers... to an established out of centre retail destination that already competes with existing centres.

“(It) will have a detrimental impact on the long-term viability, vitality and future investor confidence in the city centre, including my client’s proposed development at the Westgate Centre in Oxford city centre, particularly given the current economic circumstances.”

The Westgate owners want to carry out a £330m redevelopment of the centre, to include a John Lewis superstore.

But the scheme has been repeatedly delayed. A planning application has yet to be submitted and the estimated opening date isn’t until 2017.

Respresentatives for Bicester Village refuted the idea that Oxford would be damaged by the new development.

Miranda Markham, community relations director at Bicester Village, said: “We do not believe the criticism is justified. The experience of our last 15 years or so has been that Bicester Village has had absolutely no detrimental effect on Oxford.

“Many of our visitors will also shop in Oxford when they come here, and we actively market Oxford on our website and in other ways.”

Ben Jackson, president of the Bicester chamber of commerce, said the alliance had “every right” to make objections, but added: “We as a business community do not comment on applications for Oxford or anywhere else, out of respect for business organisations in the area the application relates to, we tend to leave it to them.”

Planning officers at Cherwell District Council have recommended the plans are approved in January despite the fact the land for the new Tesco is already allocated for business and not retail use.

If built, the new developments are expected to lead to £11m in road improvements on the A41, Oxford Road and Pingle Drive to cut chronic congestion at peak times.

In total the entire scheme could generate 3,550 jobs.

In Cherwell’s report, it said there was “unlikely” to be significant adverse impact on the town centre, and Tesco and Sainsbury’s, which is due to open next summer, were likely to compete with each other.

Comments (23)

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10:45am Mon 10 Dec 12

## Nonny Mouse ## says...

Hilarious. The only thing that is effecting the Westgate's trade is ......... The Westgate. "If you build it, they will come" springs to mind. The Westgate Oxford Alliance have done more of a: "If you repeatedly talk about building it, then don't deliver, then let your asset fall into disrepair and squaller, they will go somewhere else."
Hilarious. The only thing that is effecting the Westgate's trade is ......... The Westgate. "If you build it, they will come" springs to mind. The Westgate Oxford Alliance have done more of a: "If you repeatedly talk about building it, then don't deliver, then let your asset fall into disrepair and squaller, they will go somewhere else." ## Nonny Mouse ##
  • Score: 1

10:56am Mon 10 Dec 12

saddletramp says...

Agree with above post,what are they going to complain about next,Reading?
The majority of Bicester user dont even come from Oxfordshire,never mind Oxford,do they think all the tourists who come up from London to shop at Bicester, even give Oxford/Westgate a second thought.
I live in Wantage and dont even think about shopping in Oxford/Westgate.
Oxford councils obsession with keeping cars out of the City is working,its driving cars and SHOPPERs to Reading,Newbury,Swin
don and Bicester.
Agree with above post,what are they going to complain about next,Reading? The majority of Bicester user dont even come from Oxfordshire,never mind Oxford,do they think all the tourists who come up from London to shop at Bicester, even give Oxford/Westgate a second thought. I live in Wantage and dont even think about shopping in Oxford/Westgate. Oxford councils obsession with keeping cars out of the City is working,its driving cars and SHOPPERs to Reading,Newbury,Swin don and Bicester. saddletramp
  • Score: 1

11:03am Mon 10 Dec 12

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

The biggest threat to Oxford as a shopping destination is incompetent councillors who increase parking fees, charge for park and ride and generally make Oxford a not very nice place to visit.
The biggest threat to Oxford as a shopping destination is incompetent councillors who increase parking fees, charge for park and ride and generally make Oxford a not very nice place to visit. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 1

11:51am Mon 10 Dec 12

NinjaBiscuits says...

Agree with all of the above, the only thing that is a threat to Oxford shopping is the councillors, planners, and owners of the centres themselves. Oxford is a hole, the only thing keeping it alive is the tourists.

I live within a 10minute walk of the centre, but never shop there and instead at weekends I drive to Reading, High Wycombe, Milton Keynes and Banbury due to the dire shops in Oxford.
Agree with all of the above, the only thing that is a threat to Oxford shopping is the councillors, planners, and owners of the centres themselves. Oxford is a hole, the only thing keeping it alive is the tourists. I live within a 10minute walk of the centre, but never shop there and instead at weekends I drive to Reading, High Wycombe, Milton Keynes and Banbury due to the dire shops in Oxford. NinjaBiscuits
  • Score: 1

12:07pm Mon 10 Dec 12

EMBOX1 says...

Yep. Oxford City Council are anti-business, anti-motorist and they are in cahoots with the Universities, who only care for their own interests, not those of the locals.

Oxford needs an elected mayor who actually gives a toss about the city, and wants to see it thrive.

Oxford City Council would be happy to see it die, I am sure. So long as they get their pensions!
Yep. Oxford City Council are anti-business, anti-motorist and they are in cahoots with the Universities, who only care for their own interests, not those of the locals. Oxford needs an elected mayor who actually gives a toss about the city, and wants to see it thrive. Oxford City Council would be happy to see it die, I am sure. So long as they get their pensions! EMBOX1
  • Score: 1

1:21pm Mon 10 Dec 12

PJay says...

To the whingers above - please continue to drive to Reading, Banbury or wherever leaving shopping in the beautiful city of Oxford to those of us who love living in such a great city.

PS - you could always move to Slough or Hinckley - I hear the parking is cheap there!
To the whingers above - please continue to drive to Reading, Banbury or wherever leaving shopping in the beautiful city of Oxford to those of us who love living in such a great city. PS - you could always move to Slough or Hinckley - I hear the parking is cheap there! PJay
  • Score: -1

1:22pm Mon 10 Dec 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

How unusual, I agree with all of the above.
They've been dithering over the Westgate for years, blamed the recession for stopping work, whilst other developments around the country continued, then it was sold, which led to revised plans for a smaller development being drawn up.
So here we are, almost 3 years after the original redevelopment was meant to open, no further forward, whilst all the towns around us have been busy expending their shopping, and other, facilities.
If Oxford is to be anything, other than just a University City, in the future, things need to start happening, and soon.
The planned new station, and adjacent development, (which I think should include a new bus depot, entertainment complex, affordable housing, and budget hotels) Frideswide Square, and the Westgate Centre, all need to be completed by 2020 at the very latest.
How unusual, I agree with all of the above. They've been dithering over the Westgate for years, blamed the recession for stopping work, whilst other developments around the country continued, then it was sold, which led to revised plans for a smaller development being drawn up. So here we are, almost 3 years after the original redevelopment was meant to open, no further forward, whilst all the towns around us have been busy expending their shopping, and other, facilities. If Oxford is to be anything, other than just a University City, in the future, things need to start happening, and soon. The planned new station, and adjacent development, (which I think should include a new bus depot, entertainment complex, affordable housing, and budget hotels) Frideswide Square, and the Westgate Centre, all need to be completed by 2020 at the very latest. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 1

1:23pm Mon 10 Dec 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

Oh, PJay added a comment whilst I typing, I don't agree with that one
Oh, PJay added a comment whilst I typing, I don't agree with that one Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 1

5:28pm Mon 10 Dec 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

Lets all go to Westgate for and exclusive shopping experience in Primark and Poundland the two biggest shops in the "mall" haha. Even Sony had the sense to move out, which is a shame as they had some very good gear in there. So if a little backwater town is going to destroy the premier shopping "mall" in a "World Class City" such as Oxford is (as the council keps on telling us) it says a lot about the Westgate doesn't it.
Lets all go to Westgate for and exclusive shopping experience in Primark and Poundland the two biggest shops in the "mall" haha. Even Sony had the sense to move out, which is a shame as they had some very good gear in there. So if a little backwater town is going to destroy the premier shopping "mall" in a "World Class City" such as Oxford is (as the council keps on telling us) it says a lot about the Westgate doesn't it. Pavinder Msvarensy
  • Score: 1

5:45pm Mon 10 Dec 12

Wanchai says...

Anyone else notice how polluted Oxford is?

Most trips into the centre result in a few lungfulls of noxious fumes from one of the many buses. The bus companies seriously need to clean up their act.
Anyone else notice how polluted Oxford is? Most trips into the centre result in a few lungfulls of noxious fumes from one of the many buses. The bus companies seriously need to clean up their act. Wanchai
  • Score: 0

6:30pm Mon 10 Dec 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

Wanchai wrote:
Anyone else notice how polluted Oxford is?

Most trips into the centre result in a few lungfulls of noxious fumes from one of the many buses. The bus companies seriously need to clean up their act.
Oh yes, I know all to well, I live on a major junction in the Centre, the amount of soot I get on my window sills when I have my windows open, even a few inches, is unbelievable.
[quote][p][bold]Wanchai[/bold] wrote: Anyone else notice how polluted Oxford is? Most trips into the centre result in a few lungfulls of noxious fumes from one of the many buses. The bus companies seriously need to clean up their act.[/p][/quote]Oh yes, I know all to well, I live on a major junction in the Centre, the amount of soot I get on my window sills when I have my windows open, even a few inches, is unbelievable. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 0

7:15pm Mon 10 Dec 12

iklhik says...

As above, the people that will destroy Oxford are Oxford City Council. I've never before dealt with a council that makes it so difficult, through being deliberately obstructive and unhelpful, for entrepreneurs to work in the city.
As above, the people that will destroy Oxford are Oxford City Council. I've never before dealt with a council that makes it so difficult, through being deliberately obstructive and unhelpful, for entrepreneurs to work in the city. iklhik
  • Score: 1

11:37am Tue 11 Dec 12

Woodstock12 says...

Undoubtedly, the main thing holding Oxford city centre back is the ridiculous anti-car agenda which the Council insists on promoting to the detriment of shops, restaurants, pubs and even churches in Oxford. Having to pay for parking after 6.30 pm is silly enough but the fact that this is coupled with the daily traffic chaos (a product of a short sighted pedestrianisation scheme) means that I never visit the city centre if I can help it. Witney (and Bicester) are much friendlier options - easier to get to and easier to park in. If only the council would take note!
Undoubtedly, the main thing holding Oxford city centre back is the ridiculous anti-car agenda which the Council insists on promoting to the detriment of shops, restaurants, pubs and even churches in Oxford. Having to pay for parking after 6.30 pm is silly enough but the fact that this is coupled with the daily traffic chaos (a product of a short sighted pedestrianisation scheme) means that I never visit the city centre if I can help it. Witney (and Bicester) are much friendlier options - easier to get to and easier to park in. If only the council would take note! Woodstock12
  • Score: 1

3:23pm Tue 11 Dec 12

sparky123456 says...

WESTGATE FOLKS PLEASE READ... I did my xmas shopping on Saturday. John Lewis in wycombe. Parking free. Popped in to Wycombe after to the Eden centre. House of Fraser, Office, Debenhams, Apple Store, Beaverbrooks and the perfume store. Capped it off with a wagamama. All under one roof. There was a mini xmas market, beautiful xmas lights and an electric santa sleigh transporting parents and kids between places in the centre. It felt clean, secure and welcoming. 3 hours parking £1.80. Back to my house in Oxford in 30 mins.
In contrast Westgate, no coffee shops or eateries. Barely any decent shops (xmas in poundland/sport soccer etc no thanks) no feeling of safety or a welcoming atmosphere. Quite possibly the grottiest car park I've ever visited in my life. No toilets (well there are, if you're lucky enough to find them open, without needles or out of service) 3 hours parking, roughly £6.
WESTFIELD you have no right to make comments on what rivals want, you've spent too long talking and not putting your money where your fat greedy mouths are. You don't provide what the publis so obviously want and you should rightly be scared of Bicester village. AND TO THE COUNCIL you should also be scared. Oxford has become a day destination for tourists who barely spend money, instead they sight see. and when they do spend it's the coffee shop chains and rich uni's that benefit. Bicester is becoming the place they want to spend the day at and it's only improving.
WESTGATE FOLKS PLEASE READ... I did my xmas shopping on Saturday. John Lewis in wycombe. Parking free. Popped in to Wycombe after to the Eden centre. House of Fraser, Office, Debenhams, Apple Store, Beaverbrooks and the perfume store. Capped it off with a wagamama. All under one roof. There was a mini xmas market, beautiful xmas lights and an electric santa sleigh transporting parents and kids between places in the centre. It felt clean, secure and welcoming. 3 hours parking £1.80. Back to my house in Oxford in 30 mins. In contrast Westgate, no coffee shops or eateries. Barely any decent shops (xmas in poundland/sport soccer etc no thanks) no feeling of safety or a welcoming atmosphere. Quite possibly the grottiest car park I've ever visited in my life. No toilets (well there are, if you're lucky enough to find them open, without needles or out of service) 3 hours parking, roughly £6. WESTFIELD you have no right to make comments on what rivals want, you've spent too long talking and not putting your money where your fat greedy mouths are. You don't provide what the publis so obviously want and you should rightly be scared of Bicester village. AND TO THE COUNCIL you should also be scared. Oxford has become a day destination for tourists who barely spend money, instead they sight see. and when they do spend it's the coffee shop chains and rich uni's that benefit. Bicester is becoming the place they want to spend the day at and it's only improving. sparky123456
  • Score: 1

12:35pm Thu 13 Dec 12

mandate says...

Why not just give up the idea of rebuilding the Westgate. Instead, invest in a new shopping centre on the outskirts of the city. No traffic congestion and easy accesse via the ringroad. Parking would not be an issue, as there is plenty of open space to build a carpark.
Why not just give up the idea of rebuilding the Westgate. Instead, invest in a new shopping centre on the outskirts of the city. No traffic congestion and easy accesse via the ringroad. Parking would not be an issue, as there is plenty of open space to build a carpark. mandate
  • Score: -1

1:31pm Thu 13 Dec 12

monkeynews says...

I hear they are going to get the moving stairway working shortly at the westgate.









i heard that in 1986 mind you.
I hear they are going to get the moving stairway working shortly at the westgate. i heard that in 1986 mind you. monkeynews
  • Score: 1

1:31pm Thu 13 Dec 12

monkeynews says...

I hear they are going to get the moving stairway working shortly at the westgate.









i heard that in 1986 mind you.
I hear they are going to get the moving stairway working shortly at the westgate. i heard that in 1986 mind you. monkeynews
  • Score: 0

6:34pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

Monkey I remember the moving stairway working perfectly, in fact t it did for about 3 months after the Westgate opened, it then packed up and has never worked since.
Monkey I remember the moving stairway working perfectly, in fact t it did for about 3 months after the Westgate opened, it then packed up and has never worked since. Pavinder Msvarensy
  • Score: 1

9:44am Fri 14 Dec 12

steve1955 says...

Looks like the objections to the expansion of bicester village and bicester tescos come from commercial orginisations not the public about time the councillors who vote on these plans ignore sainsburys westgate etc and lisen to the peopl who they represent yes the voters since when did sainsburys and co have a vote their only concern is profit people have a right to choose where they shop doand mot be dictated to by by councillors and planners i would never visit bicester village but realise its what has put bicester on the map not sainsburys??????????
?
Looks like the objections to the expansion of bicester village and bicester tescos come from commercial orginisations not the public about time the councillors who vote on these plans ignore sainsburys westgate etc and lisen to the peopl who they represent yes the voters since when did sainsburys and co have a vote their only concern is profit people have a right to choose where they shop doand mot be dictated to by by councillors and planners i would never visit bicester village but realise its what has put bicester on the map not sainsburys?????????? ? steve1955
  • Score: 0

3:50pm Fri 14 Dec 12

mattyproper77 says...

Cars are increasingly redundant, and don't apply to absolutely everyone experiencing a city - a compromise needs to be reached. Oxford cannot/should not build exclusively around the needs of motorists.

OCC should have been/should be more proactive in bringing sites forwards for development at Oxpens- the idea that development will flourish without infrastructure and propositional planning is sadly unrealistic, despite what your government tells you.

Use public funds wisely to tip development at Oxpens over the edge into viability, demand quality design in architectural/public realm terms (comparing Oxford and Wycombe is facetious and if you would rather be in Wycombe then good luck to you), talk with competitors at Bicester - there are dependancies and differences between the 2 places and dont have to be mutually exclusive. Work out what Oxford/Bicester does well, and reach a common understanding on ways forward for both.

Mass buy in to the development of Oxpens - include housing as dont forget that's what this place originally was - dense city centre accommodation.

SOUTH MIDLANDS HIT SQUAD
Cars are increasingly redundant, and don't apply to absolutely everyone experiencing a city - a compromise needs to be reached. Oxford cannot/should not build exclusively around the needs of motorists. OCC should have been/should be more proactive in bringing sites forwards for development at Oxpens- the idea that development will flourish without infrastructure and propositional planning is sadly unrealistic, despite what your government tells you. Use public funds wisely to tip development at Oxpens over the edge into viability, demand quality design in architectural/public realm terms (comparing Oxford and Wycombe is facetious and if you would rather be in Wycombe then good luck to you), talk with competitors at Bicester - there are dependancies and differences between the 2 places and dont have to be mutually exclusive. Work out what Oxford/Bicester does well, and reach a common understanding on ways forward for both. Mass buy in to the development of Oxpens - include housing as dont forget that's what this place originally was - dense city centre accommodation. SOUTH MIDLANDS HIT SQUAD mattyproper77
  • Score: 0

12:14pm Sat 15 Dec 12

the wizard says...

Westgate and Bicester Village were both fine when first built, however both have the same fundamental flaw, there was no forward planning on what to do in the future as goes access, traffic and parking.
Bicester Village is so over subscribed especially at weekends and Bank holidays that it puts off many people from visiting it at all. The traffic queues have now become a long standing joke but effect others who are not visiting the place, merely through traffic.

The Westgate also has its problems, expensive multi storey parking, and the trek with shopping on the Park and Ride is also foreboding, especially if you have children with you as well. No concessions for parking in the Multi storey even over events like Christmas hardly make the trip worthwhile if you don't live in Oxford anyway. Free parking at places such as Witney see shoppers coming from far and wide and a good selection of shops helps, and of course quite a selection of eateries.
Cheltenham although a trek is easy to access and cheap parking and pedestrian area that for the greater part being bus free helps and distinct lack of bump kick and shove in and out of shops, paved areas adds to a better experience. Anybody who thinks people shop in Oxford because its a beautiful city need to think again or get a reality check. Its grimy, over priced, over rated and needs a bull dozer in places to get it right, but as usual, the council and all intrested parties will continue to talk about it, because thats all they are prepared to do, because they are utterly clueless.
High Wycombe also provides a far better day out, with good parking and a raft of choices not yet discovered by Oxford.
Westgate and Bicester Village were both fine when first built, however both have the same fundamental flaw, there was no forward planning on what to do in the future as goes access, traffic and parking. Bicester Village is so over subscribed especially at weekends and Bank holidays that it puts off many people from visiting it at all. The traffic queues have now become a long standing joke but effect others who are not visiting the place, merely through traffic. The Westgate also has its problems, expensive multi storey parking, and the trek with shopping on the Park and Ride is also foreboding, especially if you have children with you as well. No concessions for parking in the Multi storey even over events like Christmas hardly make the trip worthwhile if you don't live in Oxford anyway. Free parking at places such as Witney see shoppers coming from far and wide and a good selection of shops helps, and of course quite a selection of eateries. Cheltenham although a trek is easy to access and cheap parking and pedestrian area that for the greater part being bus free helps and distinct lack of bump kick and shove in and out of shops, paved areas adds to a better experience. Anybody who thinks people shop in Oxford because its a beautiful city need to think again or get a reality check. Its grimy, over priced, over rated and needs a bull dozer in places to get it right, but as usual, the council and all intrested parties will continue to talk about it, because thats all they are prepared to do, because they are utterly clueless. High Wycombe also provides a far better day out, with good parking and a raft of choices not yet discovered by Oxford. the wizard
  • Score: 0

12:14pm Sat 15 Dec 12

the wizard says...

Westgate and Bicester Village were both fine when first built, however both have the same fundamental flaw, there was no forward planning on what to do in the future as goes access, traffic and parking.
Bicester Village is so over subscribed especially at weekends and Bank holidays that it puts off many people from visiting it at all. The traffic queues have now become a long standing joke but effect others who are not visiting the place, merely through traffic.

The Westgate also has its problems, expensive multi storey parking, and the trek with shopping on the Park and Ride is also foreboding, especially if you have children with you as well. No concessions for parking in the Multi storey even over events like Christmas hardly make the trip worthwhile if you don't live in Oxford anyway. Free parking at places such as Witney see shoppers coming from far and wide and a good selection of shops helps, and of course quite a selection of eateries.
Cheltenham although a trek is easy to access and cheap parking and pedestrian area that for the greater part being bus free helps and distinct lack of bump kick and shove in and out of shops, paved areas adds to a better experience. Anybody who thinks people shop in Oxford because its a beautiful city need to think again or get a reality check. Its grimy, over priced, over rated and needs a bull dozer in places to get it right, but as usual, the council and all intrested parties will continue to talk about it, because thats all they are prepared to do, because they are utterly clueless.
High Wycombe also provides a far better day out, with good parking and a raft of choices not yet discovered by Oxford.
Westgate and Bicester Village were both fine when first built, however both have the same fundamental flaw, there was no forward planning on what to do in the future as goes access, traffic and parking. Bicester Village is so over subscribed especially at weekends and Bank holidays that it puts off many people from visiting it at all. The traffic queues have now become a long standing joke but effect others who are not visiting the place, merely through traffic. The Westgate also has its problems, expensive multi storey parking, and the trek with shopping on the Park and Ride is also foreboding, especially if you have children with you as well. No concessions for parking in the Multi storey even over events like Christmas hardly make the trip worthwhile if you don't live in Oxford anyway. Free parking at places such as Witney see shoppers coming from far and wide and a good selection of shops helps, and of course quite a selection of eateries. Cheltenham although a trek is easy to access and cheap parking and pedestrian area that for the greater part being bus free helps and distinct lack of bump kick and shove in and out of shops, paved areas adds to a better experience. Anybody who thinks people shop in Oxford because its a beautiful city need to think again or get a reality check. Its grimy, over priced, over rated and needs a bull dozer in places to get it right, but as usual, the council and all intrested parties will continue to talk about it, because thats all they are prepared to do, because they are utterly clueless. High Wycombe also provides a far better day out, with good parking and a raft of choices not yet discovered by Oxford. the wizard
  • Score: 0

12:43am Tue 18 Dec 12

mattyproper77 says...

build council housing and business units on oxpens. shopping is never coming back and Oxford clearly cannot compete with bright lights of high Wycombe. there is nothing wrong with that. bring st ebbes back for 21 century.
build council housing and business units on oxpens. shopping is never coming back and Oxford clearly cannot compete with bright lights of high Wycombe. there is nothing wrong with that. bring st ebbes back for 21 century. mattyproper77
  • Score: 0

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