Oxford MailFears mount over Westgate (From Oxford Mail)

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Fears mount over Westgate

Doubts about the future of the plans to redevelop Oxford’s Westgate Centre have intensified.

Capital Shopping Centres, the company behind the Westgate Partnership, will shortly be announcing its end of year figures.

And the financial position of CSC will be crucial in determining the fate of the long-awaited £330m redevelopment of the crumbling city centre shopping mall.

The Westgate scheme is now on hold, with none of the major parties involved even prepared to speculate when work might begin.

In advance of the financial announcement, a CSC spokesman would only confirm that “all aspects of the scheme are under review”.

Oxford City Council’s chief planner Michael Crofton- Briggs said: “John Lewis is still very keen to be part of the development, if CSC continue with it. The scheme is now on hold.

'It could go one of two ways – we just don’t know. But I remain optimistic'

Oxford City Council’s chief planner Michael Crofton-Briggs

“It could go one of two ways – we just don’t know. But I remain optimistic.

“In other parts of the country there have been a number of schemes where developers have said it is not going to happen.

“But CSC is still working on the financial viability. They are still working on it.”

The Financial Times this week reported that John Lewis was being forced to scale back its ambitions to open at least half a dozen new department stores in the UK over the next few years as property developers shelve plans to build regional shopping centres.

The John Lewis store is seen as the flagship element of the Westgate redevelopment.

The department store chain had eight sites in the pipeline across the UK before the credit crunch.

The company does not know when developers in Oxford and other cities such as Leeds, Preston, Sheffield and Portsmouth will be going ahead with schemes.

But John Lewis has again moved to end speculation it is preparing to pull the plug on Oxford's Westgate redevelopment.

A company spokesman said: "John Lewis is aware the construction timetable for delivery of the Westgate scheme in Oxford is being reviewed.

“However, John Lewis remains committed to the project and continues to work very closely with the council and developers CSC to bring it to fruition."

news@oxfordmail.co.uk

Comments (5)

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4:45pm Thu 5 Feb 09

Zimmer says...

Everything is crumbling in Oxford, The Covered Market, the Westgate, the Roads and footpaths, towpath after the snow will come the floods. None of it will be the fault of Oxford City Council- It'll be the County Council the Developers, The Environment Agency, Thames Water, the Icelandic Government, Thames Valley Police and Uncle Tom Cobley and All- but not the City of Oxford Council.
Everything is crumbling in Oxford, The Covered Market, the Westgate, the Roads and footpaths, towpath after the snow will come the floods. None of it will be the fault of Oxford City Council- It'll be the County Council the Developers, The Environment Agency, Thames Water, the Icelandic Government, Thames Valley Police and Uncle Tom Cobley and All- but not the City of Oxford Council. Zimmer
  • Score: 0

5:05pm Thu 5 Feb 09

jamiek says...

here here zimmer
here here zimmer jamiek
  • Score: 0

9:06pm Thu 5 Feb 09

Whitto says...

Zimmer, you ssem to have answered your own questions there as apart from the covered market none what you have mentioned are the responsibility of the city council.

Good to see you are so well informed, wish the rest of the city's population was so on the ball!
Zimmer, you ssem to have answered your own questions there as apart from the covered market none what you have mentioned are the responsibility of the city council. Good to see you are so well informed, wish the rest of the city's population was so on the ball! Whitto
  • Score: 0

6:06am Fri 6 Feb 09

making sense says...

But the CITY council, charging £20+ parking for shoppers to come in and spend their money, isn't really the best way to encourage people to our city. And I am so confident that the new westgate will not be open for business before 2013, that I will defect to the Swindon scum if it is. (we will probably get a 4th stand before a new westgate)
But the CITY council, charging £20+ parking for shoppers to come in and spend their money, isn't really the best way to encourage people to our city. And I am so confident that the new westgate will not be open for business before 2013, that I will defect to the Swindon scum if it is. (we will probably get a 4th stand before a new westgate) making sense
  • Score: 0

12:13pm Fri 6 Feb 09

Andrew:Oxford says...

The City of Oxford quite simply cannot cope with any further retail development in the centre.

It's time to put an end to all the nonsense and look outside the City for a retail development.

A Meadowhall size complex around Weston Otmoor could be a far better solution - and it offers scope for direct rail access as well as from the A34/M40.

The existing Westgate complex could then be demolished and residential areas built instead.

The City Centre would only need smaller outlets to serve tourists and the few people who actually live/work in the immediate vicinity.

Radical, but it may be just what Oxford needs.
The City of Oxford quite simply cannot cope with any further retail development in the centre. It's time to put an end to all the nonsense and look outside the City for a retail development. A Meadowhall size complex around Weston Otmoor could be a far better solution - and it offers scope for direct rail access as well as from the A34/M40. The existing Westgate complex could then be demolished and residential areas built instead. The City Centre would only need smaller outlets to serve tourists and the few people who actually live/work in the immediate vicinity. Radical, but it may be just what Oxford needs. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0
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