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Waitrose offers residents and firms a say on plans
SUPERMARKET giant Waitrose has pledged to consult local residents and traders over its proposed Botley Road site in Oxford.
It is understood the retailer is working with developer Rockspring and will set up consultation events with residents and businesses ahead of submitting a planning application for the former Halfords site.
Waitrose spokesman James Armstrong said: “We are in the early stages of discussing proposals of the Botley Road site.
“Residents and traders will have every opportunity to have their say on it and we will be bringing forward more details in due course.”
Susanna Pressel, city and county councillor for Jericho and Osney, said both authorities had been informed that Waitrose and Rockspring intended to submit an application in the coming months.
She said: “Waitrose has been hesitating for a long time about whether to put in an application for this site, so it’s good to have the uncertainty removed at last.
“I'm also pleased that it seems to be making a serious attempt to hear the views of local people and their councillors.
“I would be glad to have this important site occupied by a thriving business after it has been empty for so long, but I do fear the effect on traffic in Botley Road, which is already awful.
“If the county council would build a park and ride in somewhere like Witney, perhaps traffic in Botley Road would reduce.
“Until that happens, I generally vote against anything that adds more cars.”
Ag Mackeith, of South View House, Old Botley, has concerns about plans for a £100m redevelopment of nearby West Way Shopping Centre with a new supermarket.
She said: “I am concerned there needs to be joined up planning on Botley Road.
“I would hope they draw on their experience in Headington where a flurry of supermarkets is happening in every direction.”
Furniture retailer MFI closed its store on the site in late 2008 after going into administration and Halfords closed in January.
Cancer Research UK opened a shop there in August. Helen Johnstone, a spokeswoman for the charity, said: “We are extremely grateful for the fantastic support we have received for our £1 store on Botley Road.
“We hope to be able to continue trading there as long as possible.”
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