BUSINESSES at Botley's dilapidated shopping centre will be moved into temporary homes so they can remain open whilst a multi-million pound redevelopment takes place.

Developer Mace has revealed plans to move several shops from West Way Shopping Centre to temporary homes in the Elms Court and Grant Thornton buildings.

Residents have previously raised concerns that they would be cut off during the works and face having to drive in to central Oxford to buy food.

But Tesco, the Co-Operative, Lloyds Pharmacy and the library as well as local services such as Seacourt Hall and Botley Baptist Church will all now remain open for the duration of the revamp – which could take about two and a half years.

Room has also been made for a new youth cafe, called Branches, which will operate from one of the few remaining units in the old shopping centre.

But supermarket Iceland will close its West Way shop on when work starts and will not reopen until the new centre – which will feature shops, a hotel and student accommodation – is complete.

Fed-up residents said they are still waiting to see builders on site before they will believe work on the long-delayed project is beginning.

Mary Gill, chairman of West Way Community Concern, said: "We keep getting the message that they are ready to go and then nothing happens.

"All the shops that have already moved out could have had one more Christmas, but they are gone and the area is getting increasingly run down.

"We have been pushing for a cafe so it's good to get what we wanted but it does not replace what we have lost."

Once tenants have settled into their new accommodation, the redevelopment of the main scheme will finally begin, Mace promised.

A construction management plan will also be released soon, detailing the way in which construction of the new development will happen.

Dan Bleach, a spokesman for Mace, said: "To secure continuity of services, we have formed agreements with a number of the existing businesses at West Way to provide temporary accommodation within and around the Grant Thornton and Elms Court buildings.

"This will allow businesses and local facilities to operate as normal through the Christmas period, before moving to the temporary accommodation in the New Year."

Planning permission for the £100m revamp was granted more than 18 months ago but it has taken longer than expected to agree a start date after issues over how exactly the work would take place, and disagreements over site access.

The developers will submit an application to Vale of White Horse District Council for minor amendments to the design of the main project.

This will include alterations to the position and layout of windows, changes to the design of balconies and minor changes to floor levels to accommodate the other changes.

Vale of White Horse district councillor, Debby Hallet, said: "We worked hard to ensure shops that feel safe and welcoming remained open for the duration of the works so this is to be welcomed.

"But we are at the time now when we were expecting to see something going on at the site and there's still no sign of it.

"I am quite excited to see the cafe open, we have really missed having somewhere to have a coffee and a natter so this is a bit of good news."