A COMMUNITY is mourning the loss of some popular stores and cafes as plans progress for the demolition of their shopping centre.
Stores in Botley's West Way Shopping Centre have been given until June to leave after developers Mace changed the timing of its redevelopment in a bid to shave off years of building work. Shops set to go include the Iceland frozen food store.
Field House resident Bernard Masterman, who is blind, said he would be lost without the supermarket on his doorstep. The 74-year-old said: “When I go to Iceland there is someone who always takes me round and helps me pick out my ready meals.
“I do not know what I will do without them. I will be lost.”
Spokeswoman for Iceland Rachel Bie said it had been approached by the developers to vacate its unit.
She said: “We can reassure our customers that we will not be obliged to vacate the store at any time in the near future as we have protection under the terms of our lease.
“When we do unfortunately have to close we will work closely with our staff to offer them alternative positions and we will also look at other store locations.”
For four years Café Aloha has served up the best breakfast in the village to residents of Field House and was the meeting place which brought the West Way Community Concern action group to life.
But now because of the decision by developer Mace to demolish the centre in one go, it will be closing on May 27.
Co-owner Charlie Bartlett said they had had an ‘awesome ride’ but it was time for its story to end.
The 26-year-old said: “I would like to thank my staff because without them we would not have the reputation we have, they have been incredible.
“We have had a great time and it has been brilliant.
“But I can’t expect my staff to wait around for a year, year and a half while they knock everything down and build it up again, so we won’t be coming back to West Way.”
As a thank you to their loyal customers over the four years, Mr Bartlett, who owns the café with his mum Jan, said they will be giving a 20 per cent discount from May 1 to May 27.
Previously Mace planned to gradually demolish the 1960s shopping centre to provide continuity of services for the independent traders that were in the centre.
Mace’s development director Huw Griffiths told the Oxford Mail they had worked hard to work with tennants but found that the majority of traders wanted to leave anyway.
A Community Liaison Group meeting will be held on Monday, April 10.