REVISED plans for the £100m West Way shopping centre redevelopment have been branded ‘cosmetic’ by local residents.

Campaign group West Way Community Concern said developer Doric Properties has ignored local concerns and made only minor changes to the plans, which were released yesterday.

Doric wants to knock down West Way shopping centre, Elms Parade shops, Field House sheltered housing and the Elms Court office block to build a supermarket, cinema, gym, health centre, shops, 50 flats and 525 student rooms.

West Way Community Concern co-chairman, Chris Church, called the latest plans Doric’s “last throw of the dice”.

It is the third set of plans, after concerns were raised in two previous consultation periods. More than 950 people objected to previous incarnations of the plans.

Among the worries from residents were the demolition of Field House and the Elms Parade frontage.

The main amendments, released by Vale of White Horse District Council, include reducing the height of the cinema by one metre.

Other changes included decreasing the size of the proposed supermarket from 8,314 sqm to 8,181 sq m and moving the proposed library and cinema complex west.

Doric has also reduced the height of the buildings on West Way, Westminster Way and Arthray Road at the suggestion of the South East Regional Design Panel, which is made up of 26 industry experts in planning and architecture who produced a report on the plans commissioned by the local authority.


Chris Church

Mr Church said last night: “This is Doric’s last throw of the dice, they could’ve made changes which would have satisfied local people but if anything they’ve gone the other way.

“These cosmetic changes have been cobbled together in an attempt to improve some of the worst aspects.

“But I cannot see anyone who objected turning round and saying that these new plans meet their concerns.”

Debby Hallett, a Vale councillor for North Hinksey and Wytham, said: “Doric has shown some good ideas in this recent version of their plan. But the main issues remain unaddressed. It proposes something too big for this community, at a cost we think is too high: the loss of Elms Parade, Field House, and the Vicarage, all of which are properties that belong to others.”

She added: “There is no case for student housing in Botley. Doric propose it as a money-maker, and to provide a ready-made population for the cinema and huge supermarket they want to build.”

Simon Hillcox, of Doric Properties, said: “We have recently submitted new design improvements for the £100m regeneration scheme for Botley District Centre to the Vale of White Horse District Council.

“We’ve worked hard all summer to take into account feedback from the South East Regional Design Panel, the council, our stakeholders and the local community, and look forward to making a full announcement on our design changes very soon.”

There will now be a three-week consultation period until September 29 before a planning committee meeting expected in October.

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