A BLUEPRINT for the redevelopment of Diamond Place in Summertown has revealed plans for extra parking spaces, shops and housing at the site.

Oxford City Council said the site should be a mix of housing and shops, with an enlarged Ferry Leisure Centre, GP practice and community centre “at the heart.”

Up to 50 per cent of the properties at the site would ideally be two-bedroom homes, according to the council.

Half of the homes built would be affordable housing, but no set figure for how many in total would be included in the development was given.

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In the past concerns had been raised by traders and residents about a loss of parking spaces, but under the plan all public spaces would be retained, with more set to be created for new shops.

Shoppers and traders along Banbury Road this week said they would back development of the site, but were more concerned about parking provisions.

The city council has said it would retain all public parking spaces, using a multi-storey car park, and add about 20 more spaces for new shops, restaurants and cafes.

Dr Joseph Cooper, a Wolvercote resident of 30 years who regularly shops in Summertown, said: “Summertown has changed quite a bit over the years and I would question whether redeveloping Diamond Place is worth it.

“I would rather have more parking there.”

Ali Aktar, manager of Indian restaurant Spice Lounge, said his business got much of its passing trade from people who drove in from out of town.

He said: “Summertown is a fantastic place to trade and has an excellent mix of shops.

“But we get a lot of our trade from people who come from out of town and stop here when they go to Marks and Spencers or other shops.”

City council leader Bob Price said the redevelopment was likely to be more focused on housing than previously stated.

He said: “This is a great opportunity for Summertown after some uncertainty about whether there was a desire for more retail or housing.

“Our views have changed over time and there is now a greater housing element.

“What is also important is the significant benefits to the community that could be had from this plan.”

As part of the redevelopment the council suggested the community centre - run by North Oxford Association - could be knocked down and replaced with one at least as big.

It added that a new leisure centre, community centre and health centre could be combined on the site to make a “community hub”.

When the Oxford Mail contacted North Oxford Association chairman David Potts last Friday, he declined to comment on the proposal.

Summertown city councillor Jean Fooks said she was concerned by moves to push ahead with a new community centre.

She said: “The proposed replacement of the community centre was less popular than the report suggests and the community association expressed great concern when they were told that their building was facing demolition and replacement.”

The city council executive board will meet in Town Hall, St Aldate’s at 5pm on Thursday.

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