RESIDENTS are urging a supermarket chain to break its silence over an alternative plan for West Way, Botley. The Co-op has admitted it will be countering Doric Properties’ plans to build a new cinema and shopping centre.

But the firm has yet to comment on the details, size and scale of its scheme, or when it will be submitted to planners – angering residents, campaigners and traders.

The Co-op said it had put its own proposals together because of objections to the Doric plan, which has divided opinion locally because it is bigger than originally announced. Spokeswoman Rachael Jones said: “We were disappointed when a larger scheme to that originally suggested was being proposed and feel it is too large and will completely change the character of the area.

“This will be to the detriment of existing tenants and seems to be against the wishes of the majority of locals.

“We want to create a new supermarket but feel that Elms Parade should be retained and the West Way Shopping Centre refurbished in a similar way to the refurbishment of Bury Street in Abingdon, which has recently been completed.

“We have already discussed our plans with other tenants.”

Gary Walker, who owns Botley Barbers in Elms Parade, said he had been informed about the possible development but had not been given any details. He said: “I think what it wants to do is keep things roughly the same but, without wanting to sound selfish, my landlords have said they won’t sell, so we’re all right.”

The Howse family, which owns Elms Parade, has said it will not sell its land to Doric, which announced plans to revamp the area in January. People living near the site say they have not been consulted, and have called for the Co-op to spell out what it is proposing.

Field House resident Andy Taylor, 55, said: “We’ve heard rumours but we haven’t seen the plans.

“If it is proposing a smaller scheme than Doric it would probably get a lot of support, so I don’t know why it is playing its cards so close to its chest.”

Peter Coles, 77, also of Field House, added: “I haven’t heard anything about the Co-op plans. As long as they don’t want to demolish Field House I’m fine with it.”

Doric Properties spokesman Simon Hillcox said: “The piecemeal development of the Botley district centre over the years has now left it looking dated, disjointed and, in many ways, unfit for purpose.

“The Co-op’s proposals would fail to take advantage of the once in a generation opportunity to regenerate the area and create a vibrant local shopping, civic and leisure hub to serve the Botley community for years to come.”