A MAJOR supermarket and independent shops will bow out of a Botley shopping centre sooner than expected, with bulldozers now set to move in this summer.

Iceland is among those in the West Way Shopping Centre to have been given until June to leave after developers Mace changed the timing of its redevelopment.

Critics say residents will be left without vital services and accuse Mace of broken promises.

But bosses insist the new plan has only been introduced to shave off several years of building work.

Co-chairwoman of West Way Community Concern Mary Gill said: "I am dismayed that the independent traders have been given notice to vacate by June, and that under the new phasing plan, only three or four will be provided with temporary premises.

"A key point in the planning application was continuity of retail and service provision, such that new units would be up and running before the existing centre was closed down.

"Mace told us the build would last three and a half years but they were then told their phasing plan would cost much more than they expected, and take five and a half years.

"Did they really miscalculate so badly, or did they offer their promises to us, knowing that they were unachievable?"

When planning permission was granted in 2016, Mace had promised residents it would have a gradual phasing programme to allow continuity of trading for shops and services in the existing centre.

But now the 1960s part of the shopping area - minus the last four units of the east facing block - will be demolished in one go.

Discussions are still ongoing with potential tenants to fill the rest of the space but there has been no final confirmation of whether businesses like Cafe Aloha, Hair Therapy and Westway Chippy will leave altogether or be relocated during the demolition.

Chris Church, from the Association for Botley Communities, said the community depended on its cafes and chip shops.

He said: "What they don't realise is that the Botley Cafe and Cafe Aloha aren't just serving people hot drinks and food.

"They are hubs for people to congregate and gather to, people from Field House go there to be social.

"And what about the chippy? That provides a huge service here, I do not know where the nearest one would be for us.

"They are not thinking about the community and our needs, this development is a part of Botley now and we have to get it right."

After the initial demolition, the north east corner including the Grant Thornton and Elms Court buildings will begin 12 months into phase one.

Huw Griffiths, development director at Mace, said: "After Christmas we spent some time with our building contractors who told us that actually this entire project will take five and half years, a lot longer than any of us had planned or wanted.

"We made offers but the majority of independent traders want to go, they are not getting pushed out.

"Iceland we have offered to come back in but they also decided they wanted to go, we just could not finalise terms with them.

"For anyone who asks why didn't we just go down this road in the first place, we got pushed down a certain road throughout planning and no one stopped to look up until after it had all been finalised."

When the wrecking ball brings down the centre, Tesco will move temporarily into two empty units in Elms Court and the Co-operative to the ground floor of Grant Thornton.

The popular Lloyd's pharmacy will be calling a portacabin, near to Seacourt Hall, home during the first phase.

A highly-anticipated community hub, which will be the new home for the library, the Baptist Church and Seacourt Hall, will be completed as a separate project.

Mr Griffiths added: "In the old phasing scheme it was going to take the best part of two years for the community to be able to have those facilities.

"Now people will have access to them, in a brand new building, so much quicker."

A community liaison meeting will be held by MACE on April 10 to discuss its new phasing proposals.