RESIDENTS have been left in the dark over the future of a shopping centre after Marks & Spencer backed away from opening on the site.

Homebase in Seacourt Retail Park off the Botley Road shut for good on December 14 and developers are still remaining tight-lipped about what could replace it.

Four months on from the Oxford Mail revealing that M&S had abandoned plans to set up at Seacourt, negotiations appear to be no further forward in filling the void left by the snub.

Promotional literature by Savills and Morgan Williams still list the unit as being 'under offer' to the high street giant, who were expected to fill the largest of six new units that will replace the one vacated by Homebase.

Botley councillor Emily Smith said she had been given no information.

She said: "I haven't heard from the developers at Seacourt Hall at all and have no information about what the developer's plans are following M&S pulling out.

"I am concerned that the Seacourt Retail park will struggle to find tenants with more people shopping online and having to compete with the Westgate centre along the road, but I haven't spoken to the owners so they may have a plan."

Ms Smith said she was frustrated that there doesn't appear to be any co-ordination between the Seacourt redevelopment and the one in West Way, which is continuing apace.

She said more strategic-thinking by the Vale of White Horse Council could have made better use of both sites, adding: "It is frustrating that the Vale did not consider the uses for the Seacourt retail park at the same time as developing a plan for the West Way shopping centre.

"You could have had a supermarket, petrol station, hotel and cinema there, leaving West Way for a smaller development of shops, cafes and more housing. But we are where we are."

The second phase of the Seacourt redevelopment was anchored around the M&S and planning permission was granted more than a year ago.

In that time a petrol station has been dug up and replaced with a Costa drive-through while the car-park has been expanded.

In August, M&S said a 'reassessment' of its Simply Food opening programme had led to the decision to reconsider Seacourt as a location.

David Kay, chairman of North Hinksey Parish Council, said he had also heard nothing about the future plans for the site.

He said: "A lot of people used the Homebase, myself included, and were sad to see it go.

"It doesn't seem that much is happening. As far as we know the redevelopment is still going ahead but we've heard nothing about who will go in there.

"We are waiting to hear an update like everybody else."

Developer Morgan Williams did not respond to requests for comment.