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New city centre boss looks forward to ‘exciting times’
LAURIE Taylor is looking forward to her role as Oxford’s new city centre manager as work on the new Westgate shopping centre moves forward.
She has been a city council employee since 2010, working as community response team leader, formerly known as street wardens.
Before she joined the council she worked in retail, managing a shop in Oxford for a national fashion chain and has also helped to run two pubs.
Miss Taylor said now was a great time to be appointed, as the Westgate shopping centre is undergoing a £400m revamp, and a refurbishment of the Clarendon Centre has been completed, featuring a new H&M fashion store.
She said: “This is an exciting time for Oxford, with the new Westgate Centre progressing well – before we know it the work will be completed.
“While we are waiting for the work to be completed we will remind people that we remain open for business throughout and will try to stage a number of events to attract people into the city. I think Oxford is now getting itself into a very good position to compete with the best.”
Miss Taylor described the Covered Market, which is owned by the city council, as a “tremendous asset” and said she intended to work closely with a market manager, who is soon to be appointed by the city council.
Shamus Donald, managing director of Newsquest Oxfordshire, who is chairman of the Oxford Town Team, said: “I am delighted Laurie is to become our city centre manager.
“Laurie’s dynamism and enthusiasm will be a great asset at a time of rapid change in Oxford.”
Miss Taylor replaces Gordon Reid as city centre manager and is the first woman to hold the post.
Traders’ spokesman Graham Jones said: “I would like to see Laurie draw up a new strategy for the city centre in her first year, covering tourism, access to the city centre, and parking. She needs to act as independently as possible and there will be times when she needs to challenge the business community as well as the local authorities.”
LAURIE Taylor has been jointly appointed to the role of city centre manager by Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council and the Oxford Town Team.
She will now talk to independent businesses and national chains and convey their views to the local authorities and the town team.
The town team is a partnership of the local business community and includes representatives from shopping centres, large retailers, independent shops, and representatives from Oxford universities, Oxford colleges, and bus companies.
The city council would not reveal Miss Taylor’s precise annual salary but confirmed it was between £48,526 and £54,089.
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