Scroll to see pictures from throughout the construction - and how the centre used to look
BUILDERS at the Westgate Shopping Centre are 'cracking on' with the biggest construction job in Oxford as its October reopening draws closer, with bosses saying the project is still on schedule.
Colin Cook, one of the city councillors who approved the scheme, praised project leaders for creating 'minimal disruption' so far despite the scale of the task.
The £440m redevelopment of the centre will transform remaining sections of its 1970s arcade and create three new buildings, with one housing a flagship John Lewis store.
A two-storey underground car park has also been built.
Mr Cook added: "It looks as though they are really cracking on and I look forward to when they finally finish.
"Local residents will be glad when the pain is all over and they can finally see the gain of all the new shops.
"I am not renowned for my knowledge of retail and brands, but I know the developers are very pleased with the names that have been announced so far.
"I have seen various building projects and you think they will never be finished on time, but then things suddenly seem to speed up tremendously near the end.
"It is certainly full speed ahead at Westgate at the moment but as far as I am aware it is all going to plan.
"Given it's size though, it must be a logistical nightmare – but they are doing a good job of keeping disruption to the city to a minimum."
Under the scheme, the Westgate's existing Bonn Square facade will be replaced by a curved entrance, topped with a lantern featuring 78 glass panes.
The new centre itself will featuring a three-storey John Lewis department store, a five-screen Curzon cinema, 100 new shops including Primark, H&M and Next.
A rooftop garden area will also include cocktail bar The Alchemist, Indian restaurant Cinnamon Kitchen, cafe chain The Breakfast Club, Pizza Pilgrims and Venetian restaurant Polpo.
The new area will offer visitors panoramic views of the city and will feature a grass 'quad' with a canopy area for live performances and cinema screenings.
The scheme to revamp the centre is being undertaken by the Crown Estate and Land Securities, who form the Westgate Oxford Alliance.
The partners say the redevelopment is creating about 3,400 new jobs.