THE developer behind the planned regeneration of Botley’sWest Way shopping centre has admitted the failed £100m scheme was too big and said it would put new proposals forward by the end of the year.

Mace’s development director told residents at a public meeting on Monday that the company – and now “silent” partner Doric Properties – failed to appreciate the value of Elms Parade, the vicarage and Field House to the community, but did not rule out student accommodation in future proposals.

Huw Griffiths also admitted the consultation process was not carried out as it should have been.

He said: “Part of the problem was that Doric simply said yes to everything and that’s why it ended up so large. It was quite obvious to me the scheme was very unpopular. Democracy spoke.”

After plans were rejected by Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee in December, Doric and Mace submitted an appeal.

The appeal was withdrawn and an agreement made to work with the community to come up with a new scheme.

Mr Griffiths said: “In the cold light of day over Christmas it was obvious the scheme was just too big and was something we should take another look at.”

The development director said no concrete plans would be revealed until a proper consultation process but said more public spaces and a replacement Botley Baptist Church were on the agenda.

He said Mace, which owns 50 per cent of Doric, was originally attracted to the scheme because of its student accommodation and that with financial viability in mind a mix of residential uses was likely.

Following the unsuccessful planning application – initially recommended for approval by the Vale’s planning officers – Vale of White Horse District Council has employed architecture firm BDP to produce guidelines for the developer.

The firm will work with the community to put forward a supplementary planning document which will be adhered to by Mace.

BDP planning director Anna Sinnott said: “We have come in to address some of the issues raised and following the application being refused. We will be looking at a high quality scheme and at independent retailers as well as other businesses and a range of uses. We are also looking at the underused spaces such as the car parking and creating more public spaces.

Workshops will be set up over the next few weeks for people to give BDP their ideas and a planning policy for the area is due to go out to full public consultation before the end of the summer.

A local survey filled out by 1,400 people showed 83 per cent of people wanted substantial redevelopment of some description at the 1960s shopping centre.

The result places heavy emphasis on small shops, a medium-sized supermarket, and little or no student accommodation.