TRADERS say they continue to feel the impact of the West Way development with still more than a year left before the first phase of development is complete.

For the businesses that remain in Elms Parade in Botley the completion of the new Westway Place can't come quick enough with shop owners hoping that footfall, may eventually return to what it was once the work is complete.

Now eight months in, construction on the West Way development in Botley is beginning to take shape.

Work on Phase 1 of the Westway Place development began last May as the old West Way shopping Centre was torn down to make way for flats, shops, student accommodation and a 123-bed Premier Inn.


Oxford Mail:

Steel and concrete structures which will eventually become Botley's new high-rise buildings are now in place, give an early idea of scale, while three huge cranes dominate the west Oxford skyline.

While the frame for the new community building in what was the old Church Way car park has been erected for the building which will eventually house the new library, Seacourt Hall, Baptist Church and offices.

The original 1960s shopping centre had been earmarked for redevelopment for a number of years, before Vale of White Horse District Council eventually sold the site to developers Mace at the beginning of 2018.

However, with their cards marked, many of the original shops shut long before work actually begun, leaving residents complaining of feeling like 'living in a ghost town.'

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Gary Walker who owns Botley Barbers said he had seen a decline in customers since the shops began to close, while the closure of the two car parks at West Way when construction began has further affected footfall.

He said: "The trade has been affected since it started. People just can't park.

"There's still another year till the first phase is finished but then there's another two phases after that."

Mr Walker, who has been at the shop for the last 30 years said traders could do very little but hope that the finished development would mean an increase in footfall again.

"We're just looking to when it's finished and hopefully bring the people back. Tesco and Iceland are coming back and there's going to be a Premier Inn, and a few others.

"I just hope the rents aren't too high and that they can fill all the units."

Owner of Andrew's Specialist Dry Cleaning, Andrew Shea, also in Elms Parade agreed saying: "It's definitely had an impact.

"Since the car parks closed the parking out the front here has been horrendous and people just stay away.

"It's been like that since it started but it's been gradually going down since shops started closing.

"If it had all started when it was supposed to have then we'd be half way through it by now."

Oxford Mail:

The first phase, which includes the new hotel, is expected to finish by next summer, while the second and third phase should begin work by the end of this year.

Meanwhile some local residents have questioned the name of the new development.

At a recent AGM of the West Way Community Concern Group the question was raised as to why the development was called 'Westway Place', while the road is named 'West Way'.

The group has raised the question with Mace.