The announcement that the celebrated architects Glenn Howells have been appointed to design the John Lewis store will advance the growing conviction, “a new Westgate, it really is going to happen”.

And it now looks equally certain that the redevelopment will realise another long hoped for ambition for the city centre, the pedestrianisation of Queen Street.

Many still wonder how shoppers in Oxford’s busiest shopping street tolerated for so long the shopping nightmare that was Queen Street — being crammed on narrow edges of pavement to make way for the endless stream of buses and passenger queues.

There can be no doubting the removal of bus stops from Queen Street in 2009 significantly eased the disquiet — but as the county council’s grand Transform Oxford project fell victim to spending cuts, there remains a feeling of unfinished business.

Westgate clearly provides the opportunity to pedestrianise the street, creating the marvellous prospect of a fully pedestrianised shopping area stretching right from Thames Street to Beaumont Street (well, apart from George Street, which should surely follow).

County council leader Ian Hudspeth is right to insist the bus firms must be involved, while the companies remind us the devil will be in the detail. It certainly is, with St Aldates already jam packed with bus stops and the quest for a bus turning point still to be resolved.

Major projects at Frideswide Square, with new roundabouts, and at Oxford Railway Station offer the opportunity to improve bus routes through the city centre. But they present danger too of further delay, if Queen Street’s pedestrianisation becomes dependent on even more costly and complex schemes to the west.