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'Huge' scale of Botley development revealed
DEVELOPERS behind the £100m transformation of Botley’s West Way shopping centre have confirmed that it would include a 50,000sq ft supermarket and a six-screen Cineworld cinema.
Doric Properties wants to redevelop the area and build a new shopping centre with a cinema and bigger library.
But the proposals have been controversial because they would involve the demolition of the Elms Parade shops.
Until now, specific details about the project have not been known. But Doric has now revealed the size of the proposed supermarket and cinema. A medical facility, 550-space car park and restaurants would be part of the project too. The firm has also committed to building a new retirement home if it goes ahead with knocking down Field House and is in talks with its owner, Sovereign.
Doric’s proposals are on show at a series of consultation events that started yesterday and end tomorrow.
Some community members have expressed concern about whether Doric has done enough to listen to the concerns of local people. Chris Church, of West Way Community Concern, said: “What were felt pen marks three months ago are now drawings. There is no evidence that Doric has listened to what the community has said. It looks monolithic.
“The district council has said it will not support this if it harms the character and appearance of the Botley central area. This is a complete transformation of that central area and it will do huge and lasting damage.”
The Howse family, which owns Elms Parade, has said it will not sell up but Simon Hillcox of Doric said the company would approach the family again later this year.
Student accommodation for 100 postgraduates and 500 undergraduates – complete with roof gardens – will be built on top of the supermarket, on the site that is now home to Seacourt Hall and the Baptist Church.
Sycamore Road resident Colin Hayes, who visited the exhibition, said: “We don’t need a large supermarket here. We have got access to those very close by.
“Who on earth is going to go to a cinema here? If we want to go to the cinema, we can go into Oxford.”
Eynsham Road resident Katie Gray said: “There is very strong local feeling that we want to keep Elms Parade and I feel we are being steamrolled into this.”
Doric spokesman John Fraser said: “We have tried to listen to what people want. We have listened that people want small shop units so we have created a lovely boulevard down the front which will provide small, interesting shops.”
Mr Fraser said the firm had consulted an independent expert who reported that no building merited preservation. The consultation continues today from 4pm to 8pm and tomorrow from 11am to 3pm at Botley Baptist Church.
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