Multi-screen coming to west of Oxford as part of shopping revamp

Oxford Mail: Doric directors John Frazer, left, and Simon Hillcox in the existing outdated shopping centre Picture: OX56641 Damien Halliwell Buy this photo Doric directors John Frazer, left, and Simon Hillcox in the existing outdated shopping centre Picture: OX56641 Damien Halliwell

A CINEMA is on its way to Botley as part of a new multi-million-pound shopping centre.

The existing 1960s West Way shopping centre will be demolished to make way for the new shopping area.

Buildings to be flattened will include Botley Library, Botley Baptist Church and Seacourt Hall.

But the developer Doric Properites – which last night unveiled the plans – said it intended to build a new church and community hall.

Talks will also be held with Oxfordshire County Council about making space available for a new library.

Doric unveiled its plans after signing an agreement with Vale of White Horse District Council and a consortium to purchase the land.

A cinema with four to six screens, and possibly a restaurant, is proposed, along with a new car park.

No decision has yet been made as to who will operate the cinema or run the large supermarket which will anchor the major regeneration on the western edge of Oxford.

Doric director Simon Hillcox said: “We are committed to working with the local community on the development of the West Way Shopping Centre.

“We are acutely aware of the importance of the centre to the area. It is a major regeneration opportunity.

“The existing buildings are not fit for purpose. They have reached the end of their economic life.

“We will undertake a full consultation with residents on the regeneration, which could create several hundred new full and part-time jobs when complete.

The existing shops will be replaced with improvements to the bus drop off and pick up points.

“Just as importantly, we intend to transform the whole layout making it a more pleasant place to shop and visit.”

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Public exhibitions will be held at the end of February and in May, with a planning application to be submitted before the end of the year.

Construction will take between 12 and 18 months, with the new centre expected to open in late 2015 or early 2016.

Existing office blocks will not be replaced but some student accommodation will be proposed for the site.

One option now being looked is integrating a new library with a proposed new community hall.

The size of the supermarket and the number of shops have still to be decided upon.

The future of the Elms Parade shops is yet to be decided.

The developer said whether the shops will be knocked down or kept will be decided after the redevelopment plans go out to public consultation.

Mr Hillcox said he hoped that the majority of existing traders at West Way would wish to relocate to new premises when the centre was completed.

But one trader, Andy Brock, of butchers AJ Brock, said the news of the scale of the development had come as a surprise.

He said: “This is the first we have heard about it. They are messing about with our livelihoods here.

“I actually thought the library was about to be refurbished.”

Elaine Ware, cabinet member for economic development at the Vale, said: “This deal signifies an important first step in a programme to regenerate West Way Shopping Centre, bringing major investment, an influx of jobs and eventually a whole host of new shops and other facilities.

“It is vital for the future of the area that the scheme proceeds.”

Doric has been involved with major shopping developments in Londonderry and a new shopping centre in Greenwich, London.

The architects are Banbury-based Quay Associates and Mountford Pigott of Kingston-upon-Thames.

The news comes just days after Waitrose confirmed it had expressed interest in opening a store in the Halfords and former MFI site.

YOUR VIEW

  • ‘I think it needs it and I think it’s about time. It’s a big area and it hasn’t really got much.’ 
    Lynn Head, 52, from Wootton
  • ‘It does need a bit of a facelift here. Bringing more jobs to the area would be a bonus.’
    Nicola Brady, 36, from Sycamore Road, Oxford
  • ‘Sometimes you have got to go with the times. As long as it benefits the smaller businesses that are here.’
    Andrew Birkett, 40, from Headington
  • ‘This place needs to be levelled. It looks like a 1960s architectural nightmare.’
    Steve Mullin, 55, from Beech Road, Oxford
  • ‘I would like West Way kept as it is. I like its diversity – but the library and cinema might be a nice idea.’
    Greg Smith, 40, who works in central Oxford

Comments (16)

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9:21am Wed 9 Jan 13

colbart says...

Sounds like the VOWHDC has made plans for Botley, same as Abingdon precinct. With a 'major' supermarket to recoup money spent 'refurbing' the precinct. Why the last minute inclusion or Elms Parade shops??.

We in Abingdon are still waiting to see who moves into the new bigger developments in the precinct, and the new supermarket in stage 2. But with stage 1 so far behind, might be waiting a while yet.
Sounds like the VOWHDC has made plans for Botley, same as Abingdon precinct. With a 'major' supermarket to recoup money spent 'refurbing' the precinct. Why the last minute inclusion or Elms Parade shops??. We in Abingdon are still waiting to see who moves into the new bigger developments in the precinct, and the new supermarket in stage 2. But with stage 1 so far behind, might be waiting a while yet. colbart
  • Score: 0

11:20am Wed 9 Jan 13

AlumniDatabaseGuy says...

As a resident of Botley, this news saddens me. I like the period charm of the precinct, and Elms Parade. I haven't seen the plans but wouldn't be suprised if it features a large overly air-conditioned brick-built enclosed complex with a fake clock/bell tower and shiney floor that becomes very slippery when wet, that you see in other towns and cities :-(
As a resident of Botley, this news saddens me. I like the period charm of the precinct, and Elms Parade. I haven't seen the plans but wouldn't be suprised if it features a large overly air-conditioned brick-built enclosed complex with a fake clock/bell tower and shiney floor that becomes very slippery when wet, that you see in other towns and cities :-( AlumniDatabaseGuy
  • Score: 0

11:37am Wed 9 Jan 13

WitneyGreen says...

Won't be sorry to see the precinct refurned, but I'd always thought the Elms Parade shops frontage was listed? What a shame - they are attractive and could be kept.
Won't be sorry to see the precinct refurned, but I'd always thought the Elms Parade shops frontage was listed? What a shame - they are attractive and could be kept. WitneyGreen
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Wed 9 Jan 13

daft_evader says...

The current West Way centre may be ugly, but it is well set up for local residents (like me), with a decent range of shops and serves the immediate area well.

The proposed plans sound suspiciously like an out of town shopping area akin to the Tescos next to the Mini plant or hundreds of other similar developments across the country - utterly souless and set up for people to drive rather than walk to.

Maybe if we're really lucky the proposed restaurant will be a cutting edge operation like a Pizza Hut or perhaps even a TGI Fridays - I can hardly contain myself...
The current West Way centre may be ugly, but it is well set up for local residents (like me), with a decent range of shops and serves the immediate area well. The proposed plans sound suspiciously like an out of town shopping area akin to the Tescos next to the Mini plant or hundreds of other similar developments across the country - utterly souless and set up for people to drive rather than walk to. Maybe if we're really lucky the proposed restaurant will be a cutting edge operation like a Pizza Hut or perhaps even a TGI Fridays - I can hardly contain myself... daft_evader
  • Score: 1

1:29pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Vocman says...

Much as I would like to see more facilities in Botley, I do think it would be a shame to demolish Elms Parade.
Local businessman Mr Howse was very far-sighted in erecting this parade of shops, and they have long been a local landmark.
I remember them from my childhood when there was a toyshop on the end, where the Motor-Mart is now. A magnet for small boys at Christmas-time.
Progress must take place, I suppose. But I shall miss the Parade.
Much as I would like to see more facilities in Botley, I do think it would be a shame to demolish Elms Parade. Local businessman Mr Howse was very far-sighted in erecting this parade of shops, and they have long been a local landmark. I remember them from my childhood when there was a toyshop on the end, where the Motor-Mart is now. A magnet for small boys at Christmas-time. Progress must take place, I suppose. But I shall miss the Parade. Vocman
  • Score: 1

1:33pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Vocman says...

Much as I would like to see more facilities in Botley, I do think it would be a shame to demolish Elms Parade.
Local businessman Mr Howse was very far-sighted in erecting this parade of shops, and they have long been a local landmark.
I remember them from my childhood when there was a toyshop on the end, where the Motor-Mart is now. A magnet for small boys at Christmas-time.
Progress must take place, I suppose. But I shall miss the Parade.
Much as I would like to see more facilities in Botley, I do think it would be a shame to demolish Elms Parade. Local businessman Mr Howse was very far-sighted in erecting this parade of shops, and they have long been a local landmark. I remember them from my childhood when there was a toyshop on the end, where the Motor-Mart is now. A magnet for small boys at Christmas-time. Progress must take place, I suppose. But I shall miss the Parade. Vocman
  • Score: 0

1:48pm Wed 9 Jan 13

oafie says...

Elms Parade is a really handy place to shop with a good community feel and shopkeepers that know their customers and useful short term parking which most people do not take advantage of.

It may be need of a bit of face lift, but why cannot not have just that......some cleaning and innovative paintwork, perhaps a hanging plant wall.....
Elms Parade is a really handy place to shop with a good community feel and shopkeepers that know their customers and useful short term parking which most people do not take advantage of. It may be need of a bit of face lift, but why cannot not have just that......some cleaning and innovative paintwork, perhaps a hanging plant wall..... oafie
  • Score: 1

5:19pm Wed 9 Jan 13

kibby says...

As a long-time resident of Elms Rise I have to say the demolition of the '60s eyesore that is the main shopping precinct is long overdue, but the Elms Parade frontage has character and should be included in the development.
As a long-time resident of Elms Rise I have to say the demolition of the '60s eyesore that is the main shopping precinct is long overdue, but the Elms Parade frontage has character and should be included in the development. kibby
  • Score: 0

8:03pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Thumper6 says...

I totally agree with daft evader, the prospect of having yet another clone 'shopping experience' foisted upon us fills me with utter dread. Yes the square and surrounds are dated & almost certainly past their best, but maybe we could have new version built in it's place as to maintain it's character & charm??. I also sympathise very much with all the independent traders within the square & parade, I do hope they will get the opportunity to relocate to the new development as it is they that make Botley what it is. Hopefully local people will be given an opportunity to input any thoughts on this development. Thumper6
I totally agree with daft evader, the prospect of having yet another clone 'shopping experience' foisted upon us fills me with utter dread. Yes the square and surrounds are dated & almost certainly past their best, but maybe we could have new version built in it's place as to maintain it's character & charm??. I also sympathise very much with all the independent traders within the square & parade, I do hope they will get the opportunity to relocate to the new development as it is they that make Botley what it is. Hopefully local people will be given an opportunity to input any thoughts on this development. Thumper6 Thumper6
  • Score: 0

9:49pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Cumnorshire says...

Why is the library currently closed for three weeks for refurbishment if it about to be razed to the ground half way through next year?
Why is the library currently closed for three weeks for refurbishment if it about to be razed to the ground half way through next year? Cumnorshire
  • Score: 0

10:47am Thu 10 Jan 13

colbart says...

oafie wrote:
Elms Parade is a really handy place to shop with a good community feel and shopkeepers that know their customers and useful short term parking which most people do not take advantage of. It may be need of a bit of face lift, but why cannot not have just that......some cleaning and innovative paintwork, perhaps a hanging plant wall.....
They have recently repainted the Elms Parade, and the clock as well, I was watching them just before Christmas, .
#
[quote][p][bold]oafie[/bold] wrote: Elms Parade is a really handy place to shop with a good community feel and shopkeepers that know their customers and useful short term parking which most people do not take advantage of. It may be need of a bit of face lift, but why cannot not have just that......some cleaning and innovative paintwork, perhaps a hanging plant wall.....[/p][/quote]They have recently repainted the Elms Parade, and the clock as well, I was watching them just before Christmas, . # colbart
  • Score: 0

10:56am Thu 10 Jan 13

colbart says...

Cumnorshire wrote:
Why is the library currently closed for three weeks for refurbishment if it about to be razed to the ground half way through next year?
Same can be said for Abingdon,

GP surgery spent a fortune putting everything on ground floor for DDA access, plans now are to demolish the Charters and put GP surgery on a 1st or 2nd floor (above Poundland or Co-Op supermarket). Then build a Hypermarket. with or without an underground car park??.... The refurb is so far behind, and with the bigger buildings both empty, no word has been given about stage 2 at all..?? (Both projects 'Handled' by VOWHDC)
[quote][p][bold]Cumnorshire[/bold] wrote: Why is the library currently closed for three weeks for refurbishment if it about to be razed to the ground half way through next year?[/p][/quote]Same can be said for Abingdon, GP surgery spent a fortune putting everything on ground floor for DDA access, plans now are to demolish the Charters and put GP surgery on a 1st or 2nd floor (above Poundland or Co-Op supermarket). Then build a Hypermarket. with or without an underground car park??.... The refurb is so far behind, and with the bigger buildings both empty, no word has been given about stage 2 at all..?? (Both projects 'Handled' by VOWHDC) colbart
  • Score: 0

11:23am Thu 10 Jan 13

marigold2 says...

Yes, the buildings other than Elms Parade are awful, dated, shabby- but this is not, nor should it be, an 'out of town' destination entertainment-shoppi
ng area- this is our local 'village' . We use , love and need our local shops, banks, post office, library, church and hall. Too late now but if the Vale were thinking of west oxford as a whole- wouldn't the old Habitat-homebase site be better suited to a cinema/large supermarket/restaura
nt development?
Yes, the buildings other than Elms Parade are awful, dated, shabby- but this is not, nor should it be, an 'out of town' destination entertainment-shoppi ng area- this is our local 'village' . We use , love and need our local shops, banks, post office, library, church and hall. Too late now but if the Vale were thinking of west oxford as a whole- wouldn't the old Habitat-homebase site be better suited to a cinema/large supermarket/restaura nt development? marigold2
  • Score: 0

7:33pm Thu 10 Jan 13

oafie says...

"wouldn't the old Habitat-homebase site be better suited to a cinema/large supermarket/restaura
nt development"?

Absolutely but the parking problems without expansion of spaces would be a nightmare.
"wouldn't the old Habitat-homebase site be better suited to a cinema/large supermarket/restaura nt development"? Absolutely but the parking problems without expansion of spaces would be a nightmare. oafie
  • Score: 0

2:41pm Fri 11 Jan 13

the wizard says...

While I wish Botley residents well and hope they get what they need from any re development, I do also hope, they get something better than Abingdon. Nothing against the "Precinct" but it has had its day and the recent gloss over is just that. Hardly a mission statement or something more inviting, really disappointed by what I see as a penny pinching failure despite its cost. I sincerely hope Botley gets better than the short shrift Abingdon has been dished up with. I moved out of Abingdon to Witney 30 odd years ago, and I'm glad I did as I have more choice than a dominating Tesco. Time Abingdon got something better and I certainly hope Botley does.
Vale of the White Horse is a failure.
While I wish Botley residents well and hope they get what they need from any re development, I do also hope, they get something better than Abingdon. Nothing against the "Precinct" but it has had its day and the recent gloss over is just that. Hardly a mission statement or something more inviting, really disappointed by what I see as a penny pinching failure despite its cost. I sincerely hope Botley gets better than the short shrift Abingdon has been dished up with. I moved out of Abingdon to Witney 30 odd years ago, and I'm glad I did as I have more choice than a dominating Tesco. Time Abingdon got something better and I certainly hope Botley does. Vale of the White Horse is a failure. the wizard
  • Score: 0

8:24pm Sat 12 Jan 13

Richie24 says...

About time VOWHDC realises Botley is part of its catchment, feels often that Botley is rather neglected. However the shops do need to be updated, however I hope the frontage is kept and we do not end up with another identikit shopping/cinema set up. In the meantime maybe the council could see that the bins are emptied as they are often overflowing or do not they get anyone out beyond North Abingdon?
About time VOWHDC realises Botley is part of its catchment, feels often that Botley is rather neglected. However the shops do need to be updated, however I hope the frontage is kept and we do not end up with another identikit shopping/cinema set up. In the meantime maybe the council could see that the bins are emptied as they are often overflowing or do not they get anyone out beyond North Abingdon? Richie24
  • Score: 0

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