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Public’s views set to shape final designs for Westgate
FINAL plans for the £400m redevelopment of the Westgate Centre will be submitted in August, according to developers.
It comes after a public consultation was held earlier this year into the first designs for how the finished shopping centre and surrounding area might look.
In April, the Westgate Oxford Alliance unveiled its proposals for how the shopping centre’s Bonn Square facade would be replaced by a curved entrance of rubble stonework topped by a glazed lantern.
More than 1,100 people attended a five-day public exhibition of the designs and the developers have said another consultation will be held next month, so members of the public can see how they have changed.
Sara Fuge, development man-ager for Westgate Oxford Alliance, said: “We are grateful to those who took the time to attend our consultation and are very encouraged by the response to the designs for the buildings.
“The team is now reviewing the feedback in detail to help progress the designs towards the submission of a reserved matters application in August 2014.”
According to figures from the Westgate Oxford Alliance, two-thirds of those who took part in the consultation said they thought the designs sat well within Oxford’s historic city scape.
Meanwhile, 70 per cent of those who took part said Oxford city centre would benefit from the proposed development.
Planning permission for the development – which would have a 10,000sqm John Lewis store as well as cafes, restaurants, shops and a cinema – was given in March.
This established the principles of the development and the Westgate Oxford Alliance is now preparing to submit a second application which will set out the details of the design and, if granted, allow construction work to begin.
But some bodies, such as Oxford Civic Society and Oxford Preservation Trust, have raised concerns about some aspects of the proposals.
Gillian Argyle, a member of Oxford Civic Society’s executive committee, said: “Our chief concern is the question of traffic and the very large number of buses that will go down New Road and Castle Street and there is not a lot of provision for cyclists.”
Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said: “We will consider the revised plans for Westgate no later than October.”
The current version of the plans are still available to view online at westgateoxfordconsultation.co.uk
What's in store
About 70 new shops, including a 10,000 sqm John Lewis department store
New cafes, restaurants and a cinema
A mixture of new covered and open streets as well as public squares
A new roof-top terrace with city views
A two-storey basement car park with around 1,000 spaces
Up to 122 homes
A new landscaped walkway along Castle Mill Stream
Two major new public squares
Two 24-hour east west pedestrian routes linking Oxford Castle with Turn Again Lane and Old Greyfriars Street with the City of Oxford College
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