THE future of a parade of shops in Botley has been thrown into doubt again after a controversial planning document was approved yesterday.

Mace, the company behind a second set of plans to redevelop the West Way shopping centre, promised to retain the 1930s Elm Parade shops and Field House sheltered housing.

But on Monday, the Vale of White Horse District Council cabinet approved the supplementary planning document (SPD), which permits redevelopment on the sites.

Dr Mary Gill, co-chairwoman of West Way Community Concern, said she will be looking into appealing the decision.

She said: “It seems that economic growth is more important than the homes of 65 vulnerable people – does that not make you sick?

“We are considering what we need do next. We will consider what is cost effective.

“We never give up – it’s not in our nature.

“We will have a look at what can be done. I do believe it is a bad decision.

“But we do not want to flog a dead horse here. We need to move on to the next thing, which is the Mace application.”

Last year, Doric’s £100 million scheme for West Way was thrown out by the council’s planning committee because it included the demolition of Elms Parade, the vicarage of St Peter and St Paul and Field House.

Since then Mace has taken on the project alone and will now use the SPD to produce new plans for the site.

Councillor Michael Murray, cabinet member for planning policy at the Vale, said: “Field House is on a huge, suitable brownfield site.

“Clearly, where there is a developer and an opportunity for economic growth, it should be taken forward.

“I think it is hard to see how the study area is not needed to help us encourage and drive economic growth.”

The lawfulness of the document was called into question after the first consultation in November last year, prompting the district council to defer its decision to approve the framework.

During the cabinet meeting on Monday, Cllr Murray insisted every member declare they had no involvement with the sale of the land to Doric and Mace or with Mace’s planning application for the West Way site.

He said: “I have had no engagement whatsoever with Mace with bringing forward the planning application for the site or negotiating with Mace or Doric in relation to the sale of the Botley site.”

The SPD was unanimously adopted by the Vale of White Horse’s cabinet.

Mace will be submitting a formal planning application for the West Way site in the upcoming weeks.