TRADERS at a historic shopping parade are hoping a new multi-million precinct nearby will boost footfall.

Elms Parade dates back to 1937 and there were proposals to knock it down as part of plans to create a new shopping centre behind it at West Way in Botley.

But the scheme was scaled back and Elms Parade survived.

Oxford Mail:

Traders at the strip of shops and businesses said building work for the new centre, combined with a reduction in parking spaces for shoppers, had reduced the number of customers coming through their doors.

READ AGAIN: West Way shops and hotel set for 2020 opening

They are hopeful the opening of the new precinct this year will boost their trade.

Ian Pavier, who runs Hedges butchers, which relocated from its Covered Market unit in 2018, said: “All the businesses along Elms Parade want to provide good service for our customers.

Oxford Mail:

“But it has been difficult while the new centre is being built - some parking spaces for shoppers have been lost while building work takes place.

READ MORE: Woman jailed for stabbing landlord over drug money

“But parking will be provided once the new shops are open and I think the whole development will give the area a boost - whether there will be enough parking spaces is a different matter.

"Customers come here because they like the personal touch and the banter they won’t get in the supermarkets.”

Hedges customer Peter Cooling, 87, who used to work at Pressed Steel in Cowley, said he was pleased Elms Parade was saved.

Oxford Mail:

He added: “I have been coming here for 40 years - everyone is very friendly. I will be glad when the work is finished.”

READ AGAIN: Children block Westgate Centre car park entrance on school strike

The shopping centre is on schedule to open this year, according to developers, and a new community centre, featuring an improved library and the local Baptist church, will open on Saturday, January 25.

This will pave the way for the launch of the new facilities called West Way Square by developers The Botley Development Company, a joint venture between Mace Developments and Doric Properties.

West Way Square will include restaurants, cafés and stores catering for the local community, residents, students and hotel guests.

Oxford Mail:

Gary Walker, 72, who runs Botley Barbers, said he had lost customers from ‘Wolvercote, Eynsham and Southmoor’ while the new centre was being built.

READ MORE: Cyclist dies in crash with car

He added: “I do need my customers to keep supporting me because there have been times when trade has been poor - we are waiting to be saved by the new development.”

Oxford Mail:

Nicola Horsley, manager of Jason’s Flowers, said the shop now has a lot of online business, with fewer customers walking through the door.

Oxford Mail:

She added: “We are doing quite well but it would be nice to have more footfall.

"We are excited about the new precinct opening and we will have to wait and see what happens.”

READ MORE: Horse riding centre in lockdown over virus fears

There will be a new Premier Inn with 123 bedrooms, 261 student apartments and 144 residential apartments.

Oxford Mail:

Chains due to open are Tesco Express, Iceland, Lloyds Pharmacy, Chancellors, and Co-op Food Market and 300 parking spaces are promised.