THE Campaign to Protect Rural England has claimed the £100m West Way redevelopment proposals for Botley would intrude on Oxford’s famous skyline.

In a last-minute intervention, the group said the new shopping centre Doric Properties wants to build would affect the Green Belt by being “visually intrusive”. The centre would feature a new supermarket, cinema, cafes and hotel.

In a statement to Vale of White Horse planners, CPRE Oxfordshire director Helen Marshall, said: “It would be visually intrusive on the Green Belt, thereby significantly compromising its landscape and visual amenity.

“It is also likely that it would be visible as an intrusive element in the backdrop of views of the city's famous skyline as seen from South Park and the rolling hill-and-vale skyline that forms the topographic setting of Oxford.”

The statement comes as opponents of the West Way scheme made their last formal statements to Vale’s district council before the application is brought to the planning committee.

North Hinksey Parish Council and campaigners of West Way Concern both strongly oppose the development and claim it would have a negative visual impact on the Botley area and bring too much extra traffic to its roads.

But Simon Hillcox, joint owner of Doric Properties, said: “The regeneration of Botley will bring brand new shopping, leisure and community facilities and create approximately 480 jobs, as well as 600 in the construction phase.

“Change on this scale requires careful consideration, which is why we undertook a year-long consultation with the local community and produced an environmental statement.”

Meanwhile, supermarket giant the Cooperative has revealed it is reviewing the West Way plans.

The shopping centre neighbours a Co-op Food store, as well as a Tesco Express and the Oxford Mail understands the Co-op may object to Doric’s proposals.

A spokeswoman for the Midcounties Cooperative would not confirm the claim, but said: “We are reviewing the proposals and are not in a position to comment further at this stage.”

A decision is expected to be made on the plans by August 31.

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