WORK to temporarily relocate retailers and services during the redevelopment of the West Way shopping centre in Botley is almost complete.

The Co-operative Food store celebrated the opening of its temporary new home last week, while North Hinksey Parish Council, Seacourt Hall and the Baptist Church have also moved homes while demolition work is ongoing.

The services will now be located at the former Grant Thornton Building in Westminster Way during the first phase of the development which is expected to last more than two years.

An open day was held on Sunday to show off the new facilities at Seacourt Hall, while pupils from Botley Primary School were invited to cut the ribbon to unveil the temporary Co-op store last Thursday.

Store manager at the Midcounties Co-operative Food store, Donna Hunter, said: “The children from Botley School did a fantastic job of helping us unveil our temporary new store and were as excited as we were to welcome customers through the doors, including regular shoppers who have shopped with us for many years.

“We’re also really looking forward to seeing how the new store takes shape over the next 18 months ready for us to move into it during summer 2020.

“In the meantime, customers can get everything they need from our store on Westminster Way.”

The West Way’s Tesco store is also due to be relocated with work on the internal fit-out of its temporary home in Elms Court expected to start soon, with the store expected to open in late August.

While work to house the Lloyds Pharmacy in a portacabin is now complete with the pharmacy open for business.

Developer Mace intends to demolish the1960s shopping arcade and replace it with new shops, a hotel and student accommodation.

Planning permission was granted in 2016, however, work on the development did not start until March this year, long after many of the centre’s traders moved out.

Many residents voiced frustration at the delays largely owing to the sale of the land while the centre became the target of a spate of graffiti attacks criticising the scheme.

Work is now well underway on the demolition with the Grant Thornton building partially taken down and work to demolish the Botley Baptist Church complete.

Demolition of the old Seacourt Hall in Chapel Way has also commenced.

This month will also see construction firm SDC carry out excavations around the site to establish the locations of gas, electricity and water services, while compounds are being set up behind some of the former shops to allow strip-outs and demolition to commence.