West Way decision faces further delay

An artist's impression of the development

An artist's impression of the development

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

A DECISION on whether a controversial redevelopment of Botley’s West Way shopping centre can go ahead could now be as late as the end of October.

Developers initially hoped Vale of White Horse District Council members would make a decision on the £100m plans by May 1.

But that was delayed because developer Doric Properties Ltd did not submit an environmental impact assessment.

Now the firm is expected to submit revised plans by the end of the month, following a consultation with residents.

The council said a decision may not be reached by its planning committee – which residents can attend – until the end of October.

A spokesperson for district council said: “We’re still awaiting amended plans which we expect to receive by the end of August.

“These plans will then be consulted on for three weeks, which does mean that the plans are unlikely to go to the planning committee until the end of October.”

The co-chairman of West Way Community Concern, Chris Church, said: “We had anticipated mid-October, but it could be later than that with a further three week consultation period needed.

“It’s not surprising it’s taking them a while, but we’d rather a delay and significant changes made than things rushed through. This is too important for that.”

The amended plans will be the third version for the 1930’s Elms Parade frontage, Botley Library, Seacourt Hall and Field House sheltered housing.

Doric wants to build a supermarket, cinema, gym, health centre, shops, 33 flats and 525 student rooms. More than 700 people have objected to the council over the plans. The firm said it is working with the council to address issues raised by residents.

Joint owner Simon Hillcox said: “We’ve been working hard on improving our plans and are currently talking through our proposed changes with the council to make sure that we are addressing the points raised through the consultation and the design review panel.

“Once we are happy that this has been achieved, we will be finalising our amendments and they will be subject to further consultation by the council before arriving at the planning committee.

“It is important that we take the time to get this right and we are hopeful of moving forward in this process soon.”

Debby Hallett, a Vale councillor for North Hinksey and Wytham, said: “With all the delays and three consultation periods now it’s hard for local people to stay informed about these plans and to know what to expect.”

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