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Quay expansion aims to head off out-of-town competition
MOVES to extend Banbury’s Castle Quay shopping centre have been welcomed by business leaders.
Centre owner Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) is developing plans for a hotel, cinema, shops, bars and restaurants.
It would extend the centre’s footprint by 25 per cent, from 600,000sq ft to 754,000sq ft and create up to 500 new full-time and 1,000 part-time roles.
It is being seen as a attempt by the firm to shore up the town centre’s offering after a major retail park plan was approved.
That development – to include a Marks & Spencer and Next – will go at the site of motorsport firm Prodrive, which will move nearby, alongside junction 9 of the M40.
Malcolm Douglas, who owns Henry’s menswear shop in High Street, said he hopes it will “thwart” the Prodrive plans.
He said of the Castle Quay scheme: “It is wonderful, great news if it goes ahead. It is great for the town – a cinema would be brilliant.”
Centre fund manager Cameron Murray said the plan “reaffirms SWIP’s commitment to Castle Quay and maintaining Banbury’s town centre offering”.
He said: “We are delighted to confirm we are in the early stages of developing a proposal to extend Castle Quay shopping centre.
“Banbury is widely renowned as being a scenic town, with Castle Quay shopping centre ideally situated next to the picturesque Oxford Canal.
“We are confident that the proposed extension will capitalise on the existing facilities and attract new visitors to Banbury town centre.”
The firm said the plan was in its “early stages” and could not say where the extension would be built.
In addition to the leisure facilities, the scheme would add four shops to the existing 80 at Castle Quay.
Centre commercial manager Paul Jackson said: “This investment protects the retailers and workers who are currently employed at Castle Quay whilst simultaneously providing them with exciting prospects for the future.”
Prodrive told the Oxford Mail its plans had been put back a year until summer 2015 because of delays in the planning process. It welcomed the “positive” Castle Quay plans.
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