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