Restaurant tables outside The Store hotel are being considered as a possible option.

Simon Drake was revealed earlier this week as the new manager for the new 101-bedroom hotel in Broad Street on the site of the former Boswells department store.

And he is open to the idea of having some restaurant tables outside the hotel in Broad Street, linking up with the councils' efforts to pedestrianise the street. 

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Parking spaces have been removed, and planters and other street furniture including seating has been introduced in a scheme costing £500,000.

The opening of the Reef Group hotel was planned for late autumn but is now scheduled for November, as work on the interior has taken longer than expected.

Oxford Mail: Simon Drake, manager of The Store

Mr Drake, who has previously managed the Randolph hotel, said he will soon be recruiting staff for a number of roles and is hopeful that some former Boswells shop assistants will be among the candidates.

Construction work is continuing on the ground floor, where there will be a restaurant named after the former Treadwell passage, and on the rooftop bar which will provide stunning views of the city.

While the main entrance to the hotel will be in Broad Street, the entrance to the restaurant will be in Cornmarket.

Mr Drake said guests would 'get a feeling of Boswells when they were staying at the hotel'.

He added: "We have 200-300 pieces of original items from Boswells - ticket stubs, pictures, receipt books going back 100 years.

"My people have spent some time with the Pearson family who owned Boswells."

Mr Drake said applying for a licence for restaurant tables outside was a possibility and he hoped this would align with the partial pedestrianisation of Broad Street.

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While parking spaces have been removed, the street has not been completely pedestrianised, and there is a cycle lane.

Oxford Mail:

Nicole Rahimi, who has organised the city's Christmas market in Broad Street for the past 14 years, said Oxfordshire County Council had made it “impossible” for her to accept the tender conditions to run it again as it was insisting that the cycle lane through Broad Street must not be closed off.

Mr Drake was the general manager of the Randolph Hotel in Beaumont Street for about a year until he left in 2019.

Since then he has been a manager at hotels in Soho and Kensington in London.

He said earlier: "The date of the opening has been pushed back because of sympathetic construction - there are incredible skylights and floor lights and preserving them has required a redesign.

Oxford Mail: Broad Street in Oxford

"As a result the opening date is being put back until early winter and we are now looking at a November opening."

A city council spokesman said: "We haven't received an application at this stage (for a pavement licence).

"If an application is made under the Business and Planning Act 2020 then it will be determined two weeks after receipt in accordance with the timescales set by the legislation."

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.