It’s now almost five years since the opening day of the new Westgate Centre in October 2017.

Shoppers queued up for bargains at the newly designed centre following its £440m revamp and Oxford Mail photographer Jon Lewis was there to capture that busy first day.

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The current balloon displays at Westgate are a reminder of the stunning acrobatic display that was staged on the centre's first day, involved giant balloons.

Read again: Westgate's successful opening day

It seemed as if no expense had been spared for the relaunch, with 100 new shops and restaurants opening, and a new rooftop terrace and cinema.

Japanese fashion chain Uniqlo was a big hit with shoppers on the first day, with large queues forming outside.

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It was all a far cry from the centre's origins in 1972, when shoppers gathered to catch a glimpse of Coronation Street star Pat Phoenix who played Elsie Tanner in the TV soap.

Read more: First look at giant earth sculpture inside church

The new £1.8m Westgate Shopping Centre opened with a large Selfridges and a Sainsbury’s, and four years later the Queen visited.

Over the years plans to revitalise the centre were delayed on a number of occasions.

Oxford Mail:

In 1999, artists’ impressions of Capital Shopping Centres’ £220m revamped mall were unveiled.

In 2000, Oxford City Council approved the Westgate extension application but Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott threw out the plans.

Read again: Westgate Centre looks fit for a Disney movie

The decision was overturned but CSC withdrew its application and in 2006 submitted fresh plans for the £300m redevelopment of the Westgate Centre.

Oxford Mail:

In 2010, CSC sold the Westgate Centre to the Crown Estate and Land Securities, which forms a consortium named Westgate Oxford Alliance.

Oxford Mail:

In 2013, Westgate Oxford Alliance signed a development agreement, and in 2014 plans for the £440m revamp were approved.

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

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