EXCITING plans for an ‘immersive’ 3D cinema and virtual reality racing café to come to the Oxford Castle area were unveiled earlier this year.

The plans are for several retail units inside the Oxford Castle Quarter to be revamped into an auditorium with a 3D cinema by developers Gateway Attractions Ltd..

Plans have also been submitted by the company for a new cafe at the site of the old Pizza Express next door.

READ MORE: Huge plans for 3D cinema and virtual racing track at Oxford tourist attraction

‘The Fuel Café’ will have a virtual reality motor racing area upstairs and serve pizza, waffles and crepes on the ground floor.

Oxford Mail: Oxford Castle Quarter. Oxford Castle Quarter.

After recommendations from the planning committee, the plans have been updated.

Concerns were raised about a free-standing stage that was planned for the 3D cinema, in unit 4, as it would cover up the external walls of the Old County Hall which is a Grade II listed building. 

It would also break up the existing double-height space. 

This has now been removed from the application. 

There were also concerns about the signage not fitting in with the castle area, and this has been revised to be more in line with the area. 

In terms of lighting, the planning authority also specified warm white LEDs should be used not cool white as proposed.

At unit 6, formerly Pizza Express, where the VR cafe is planned permission was given to remove the modern walls to make space for a V.I.P area on the condition that the original mid-19th wall to which partitions are currently attached to is looked after.

New plans for a ‘video screen hung over the stair, utilising existing light fittings’ was also questioned, and has been removed from the planning application. 

In terms of the outside, the company's logo was planned to go in the window was described as 'too garish' due to the colour with preference given to a matte design, and a new design has been submitted.

The same issue was raised with the planned signage, the authorities asking for a 'less ornate' design to match the castle area, with developers revising this. 

For the former prison site, at the C Wing Rotunda building, multiple issues were raised with plans for the stairs and an 'exessive number of signs'.

Plans for modern replacement steps have been removed from the application, with revisions on the number of signs. 

Lastly, for unit 5, which was formerly a tapas bar, information for how stairs would be repaired was requested and an idea for an art plinth to go outside the building has been removed after the authority worried it would clutter the area.

Oxford Castle Quarter is a significant part of Oxford's heritage with the Castle mound still standing from the 11th century Oxford Castle, which became the infamous Oxford Prison.

The planning applications can be found at the Oxford City Council planning portal

Read more from this author

This story was written by Shosha Adie

She joined the team in 2022 as a digital reporter.   

To get in touch with her email: Shosha.Adie@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter: @ShoshaAdie

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