The Westgate Centre is, for the umpteenth time in recent years, undergoing a public consultation about a proposed redevelopment.

As a home-worker and online shopper, I can’t get that excited about the Westgate development. The current Westgate is a bit shabby but – meh – why go there anyway? When I do leave the house to go shopping, I like to spend my cash with local independents and the bike shops.

I do have a penchant for John Lewis though – their business practices and ethical policies make them one of the best of the UK’s high street chains and on car journeys along the M40, I confess a weakness for popping into their High Wycombe store. I love their staff, and the Never Knowingly Undersold policy, and the stuff they sell’s alright too.

But the idea of building a John Lewis-based retail paradise in the centre of a city that’s already congested is a bit depressing if it attracts any more drivers than already clog Oxford to death. Even if they do enlarge the Park and Rides so shoppers can use buses the city centre will still be overwhelmed by the volume of traffic.

It is imperative that the councils look at ways of mitigating the traffic impact. A stiff congestion charge funding an efficient light-tram system would be perfect, but the capital would be hard to obtain.

The only other way to prevent Oxford’s paralysis is – you guessed it – the bicycle. The new Westgate has to be a monument to bicycling not to cars. To achieve this, the new Westgate Centre must have a ‘Cycle Hub’. The recent John Lewis-anchored Grand Arcade in Cambridge has one, with space for around 300 cycles to park (free), a cycle hire shop, valet parking for a further 200+ cycles, lockers and showers.

Workers and shoppers should feel that cycling is the easiest and cheapest way of accessing the new centre. Most purchases will fit in panniers. Large items can be delivered – free with purchases over £50 from John Lewis. With 3,400 staff at the new site, let alone all the shoppers, demand for cycle parking will be huge.

Currently, the Westgate plans show small clumps of cycle parking for 300-400 bikes around the edges of the site and a massive 1,100-space car park underneath it. Surely they should be planning an underground Cycle Hub with at least 1,100 spaces, if not several times that number.

A Cycle Hub in central Oxford is already a sorely-needed civic amenity. City councillors are overwhelmingly pro-bike and Cyclox has for years badgered them to include a proper Cycle Hub in any new development at the Westgate. I am surprised and disappointed not to see one.

You can still view the plans and respond to the consultation at www.westgateoxford