THIS is what the new West Way Shopping Centre could look like.

Developers Mace are hoping that second time round residents will embrace its multi-million plans for the heart of Botley after months of consultation with different community groups.

Development director Huw Griffith said: “Following the rejection of the initial Doric plans in December 2014, we saw a chance to salvage a really great opportunity.

“We want to create a centre based on convenience for the residents of Botley.”

Facing the A34 will be an eight-storey block of one and two bedroom apartments and studios, and the 122-bedroom hotel will be seven storeys high.

Mr Griffiths said: “We deliberately put the taller buildings into the centre of the development so there would not be issues of overlooking.

“We understand this was a concern of the local community, but even the tallest building in the development is lower than the Seacourt Tower.”

Accommodation for 262 students and academic staff will be built on top of retail spaces, reaching a height of five storeys.

Mr Griffith said they were not going to market certain rooms for particular academic groups.

He said: “If 262 students rent the rooms or 262 professional academics rent the rooms, either way it is great for us. I think it will be 200 students and 60 academic staff.”

Sticking to its theme of convenience, Mace will only give two hours free parking in the new 320-space car park.

Residents visiting the shopping centre will share the spaces with users of the hotel, the 149 new home residents and students and academic staff, who will be issued a permit.

Mr Griffiths said: “We’re hoping to run it on the idea that the different users will not all be there at the same time.

“People visiting the hotel will mainly use the car park for the evening and overnight, whereas shop workers and residents visiting the shopping centre will be there in the day.

“The reason for only having two hours’ free parking is because we want to deter people who use the car park and then get on a bus to go into the city centre.

“That is what the park-and-ride down the road is for, we want to discourage that completely.”

Twenty-two retail units, including a slightly larger Co-operative, will be taken up by independent retailers and restaurateurs.

Mr Griffiths confirmed they were in discussions with current occupiers and said some would be returning to the new development.

Current business owners in Elms Parade were concerned, however, their trade might be affected during the building stages.

Mr Griffiths said: “We have spoken to the shopkeepers, in particular Mr Brock, the owner of the butchers, who raised concerns about dust affecting his fresh meat.

“We use a nebulising spray on the concrete so dust does not rise off the materials.

“In some ways we are in a more desirable position because we are not going to be building next door to any homes where dust will pile up on their windows and cars.”

During the first phase of building, Seacourt Hall, Botley Baptist Church and Botley Library will be relocated to already-vacant spaces in the West Way Shopping Centre and Elms Parade will continue to trade.

Andrew’s of Oxford dry cleaners, which is set to be demolished as it is part of Elms Court, will be relocated to a vacant unit in the shopping centre.

Mr Griffiths added: “We hope the plans will go through this time because if they do not, another developer will come along and create a concentrated development overlooking the A34. No one will touch the rest of it and the shopping centre will just be forgotten about.

“Significant investment has been spent on this.”


  • The West Way redevelopment view looking south-west from Church Way

Timeline to a long-running saga

* January 2013: Multi million-pound plans are announced to demolish West Way and Elms Parade to build a new centre

* December 2013: A planning application for the scheme is submitted

* April 2014: It is revealed that some 800 people objected to the scheme during its consultation

* May 2014: A deal between Doric and Mace is signed for the construction, worth £100m. It is announced a consultation on the scheme will be extended

* November 2014: The plans are amended, to move a parish community centre to the ground floor

* December 2014: Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee unanimously reject the plans

* March 2015: Doric and Mace withdraw an appeal against the decision. Mace announces it will take the project forward to produce a smaller scale scheme

* May 2015: A consultation process gets under way involving the council, Mace, West Way Community Concern and local figures

* December 2015: Public exhibition is held which gives an outline glimpse of what to expect from the new planning application

* February 2016: Mace submits a formal planning application to the Vale for the new proposal. Artist’s impressions of the designs are released


  •  Buildings A & E, Residential with ground floor retail/leisure space; Building B, Hotel and academic accommodation with ground floor food store; Buildings C & D, Academic accommodation with ground floor retail space; Building F, New community centre to include library, baptist hall and community hall; 330 parking spaces will also be located behind Building H 

* May 2016: Mace hopes to have planning permission granted

* Nov 2016: Site assembly complete 

* June 2018: Phase 1 of the site complete, which would see: Seacourt Hall, Botley Baptist Church and Botley Library temporarily relocated to already vacant space in West Way Shopping Centre. The new community space and Baptist church built and the Grant Thornton building, Seacourt Hall, Botley Baptist Church and Elms Court demolished. West Way Shopping Centre and Elms Parade will stay open and trading throughout this time. Access Route from Arthray Road to West Way maintained.
Community space building and new buildings by A34 constructed..

* Nov 2019: Phase 2 of the site complete, which would see: Botley Library relocated to new community space and Botley’s Baptist congregation relocated to the new church. West Way Shopping Centre tenants moved to temporary accommodation in the new buildings by the A34. West Way Shopping Centre demolished New buildings constructed on site of West Way Shopping Centre. Elms Parade to stay open and trading throughout this time.

All change

In December 2014 the original plan for the West Way Development put forward by Doric was thrown out by the Vale’s planning committee.

There are considerable differences between the original development and Mace’s proposed scheme.

The 2014 application featured:
* Demolition of Elms Parade, Field House and St Peter and St Paul Vicarage
* 525 student rooms
* Community centre at first floor. Library separate from community centre
* Six-screen cinema
* 8,000 sqm supermarket
* 50 new homes at the edge of the site

The 2016 application includes:
* Retention of Elms Parade, Field House and St Peter and St Paul Vicarage
* 262 university related accommodation rooms to house people who visit, work and study at Oxford’s universities, marketed towards the more mature student market, lecturers and academic support staff, interns, PhD students and visiting families
* Integrated community centre, library and shared exhibition space adjacent to St Peter and St Paul Church
* No cinema
* 1,211sqm supermarket and a range of smaller shops, restaurants and cafes
* 149 new homes

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