Fears for sheltered housing in Botley revamp

Oxford Mail: Field House in West Way, Botley Field House in West Way, Botley

A COUNCILLOR fears a sheltered housing block in Botley could be demolished to make way for the new cinema and shopping complex.

Doric Properties recently announced proposals to flatten the West Way Shopping Centre and other buildings to pave the way for the new development.

But the developer has not yet said where the new buildings will go, and concerns have been raised about the future of the 60 flats at Field House in West Way.

County councillor for North Hinksey and Wytham Janet Godden said: “I certainly welcome investment in West Way which has for so long been neglected, but many residents want to keep the small independent shops which they value very much, and I support them in that, but all we hear about is a large supermarket.

“With regards to the cinema, it has to go somewhere, and I understand that a large block of sheltered housing in the form of flats for elderly and vulnerable people is to be demolished to make way for the cinema.

“There is a small day service for elderly people which is run by WRVS in that building and I want to make sure alternative plans are made for that.”

Doric spokesman Julian Seymour said it was too early in the planning stages to say where elements of the scheme would be built and what would be demolished.

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He said: “Should we need to do something like that we will have talks with the owners of the sheltered housing in question and work out whether we can incorporate them in the scheme or arrange for them to move elsewhere.”

Mrs Godden called for a speedy turnaround on any planning bid, saying residents would not want to wait, and also said the developer should work with the owners of the nearby Seacourt business park.

She added: “Investment is welcome but it’s come out of the blue and there are questions to be answered.”

Field House resident Michael Field, 63, said: “What we can’t understand is why they would want to knock this down. It’s in perfectly good order, the flats are smashing. There is a lot of concern here.”

The block of flats is owned by the Sovereign housing association. Spokesman Roy Probert said the company had not yet been approached by the developer.

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