INDEPENDENT traders are fearing the worst as the decision on new plans for West Way Shopping Centre is made tonight. 

Businesses say the three year saga behind the centre in Botley has left them "in limbo" and is affecting their livelihoods.

Nicole Crawford, manager at Cafe Aloha, said: "We rely on footfall, and if you have got everything being knocked down around us, people won't be stopping in.

"We are going to lose customers, we are going to lose some of our staff."

The cafe and remaining businesses in The Square will have to be temporarily relocated if the plans are approved as the buildings will be completely demolished.

Faqir Sahota, who has owned Westway Chippy for nine years, claimed his monthly takings had fallen since the application was submitted.

He said: "We are really struggling to survive, we want to get this finalised so we can have a stable trade."

If the application is approved by the Vale of White Horse planning committee, the first buildings to go will be Elms Court – which includes Andrew Shea's dry cleaning business.

He said: "When I first moved in here 20 years ago they had to take out the front windows to get my machines in.

"Is Mace going to pay to have this done when I have to move, as they knock this building down?"

Although the owner of AJ Brock Butchers will not have to vacate his unit in Elms Parade, he is still concerned about the impact of construction.

Andy Brock said: "You tell me how I am supposed to run a business serving fresh produce when you've got dust and dirt coming in from a building site on my doorstep?

"My lease is already up and Wednesday night will be the decider for me whether I renew it or not."

David Tompkins, owner of David Tompkins estate agent on Chapel Way, said he would "just have to deal" with tomorrow's outcome.

He said: "It is out of my hands but we have waited so long to find out what is happening to us."

If granted planning permission, developer Mace has planned to phase in the development.

During phase one, Botley Library and the Baptist Church will temporarily move into vacant space in the shopping centre and during phase two the organisations will move into new premises while the shopping centre tenants will move temporarily into new buildings in Westminster Way.

Huw Griffiths, development director at Mace, said: "We have spoken to each retailer individually and they are aware that we plan to phase the development.

"Once we have appointed a main contractor we will be able to drill further into the detail of phasing and there will be a regular Liaison Group set up with all the retailers, including those in Elms Parade and we will be able to consult with them on the final construction management plan which will include the more detailed programming and phasing."

The planning meeting will be held at The Ridgeway in Wantage on Wednesday at 6.30pm.