A REPORT commissioned by the company behind the proposed West Way redevelopment in Botley has said its benefits will outweigh any adverse effects.

Doric Properties, the firm planning the £100m shopping centre scheme, had already submitted a planning application but needed to back it up with an environmental assessment before the planning application could be considered by Vale of White Horse District Council.

If it wins approval, Doric’s proposals would see the demolition of the shopping centre and Elms Parade and Field House to make way for a supermarket, cinema, health centre, gym, shops, 33 flats and 525 student rooms.

It is understood demolition would take place in 2015 with a completion date of 2018.

The plans face strong criticism from North Hinksey Parish Council and campaign group West Way Community Concern, both of which claim it will result in increased traffic, air pollution and a damaging visual impact on the surrounding area.

However, the new environment report plays down those claims, instead stating visual impact and increased traffic would be small and compensated by the potential benefits to the area.

The report, compiled by international consultancy firm RPS Group for Doric, said: “It is considered that the socio-economic benefits of the scheme considerably outweigh any minor adverse effects.”

West Way Community Concern member Chris Church dismissed the report’s conclusions as “largely expected”.

He said: “People in the West Way area will be assessing it both for what it says and what it leaves out. We will be scrutinising this report very closely and have some ideas about what we want to say.

“But the environmental impacts remain just one small part of the many reasons to object to this development.”

Doric joint owner Simon Hillcox said: “The report shows the proposals meet all the technical criteria required and demonstrates a very positive economic outcome locally.

“This represents another significant step forward for the project.”

Mace has been selected by Doric to undertake construction work.

Chief operating officer David Grover said: “We feel confident there will be minimised disruption for local residents.”

The publication of the report triggers a three-week consultation period. Planning committee vice-chairman Sandy Lovatt said residents could expect a decision on the planning application as early as the end of September.

Key findings

Visual impacts small when future growth of wider townscape considered. Is expected to become “positive local asset.”
Impact on traffic from construction assessed to be “negligible”.
No effect on local bat populations. 59 trees to be removed, of low ecological value.
Building activities would generally be limited to weekday times of between 7am and 7pm and on Saturday mornings between 7am and 1pm.
No adverse air pollution effects anticipated during construction.
Main adverse social impact will be the temporary relocation of “retail units and other service businesses; the dental practice; Botley Library; Seacourt Community Hall; the Botley Baptist Church; the Vicarage; and the age-restricted accommodation” during construction.

.Read the full report here

Our top stories: