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Developer ‘ignoring’ fears over shop complex revamp
PROPOSALS to knock down an historic parade of shops in Botley have been criticised, with campaigners claiming developers behind the West Way regeneration are not listening to them.
It comes as Doric Properties, which signed an agreement with Vale of White Horse District Council and a consortium to buy the land in January, holds a consultation about the proposals and reveals how the new shopping area could look .
The developer said it had made changes after a consultation in February and it intended to submit a planning application by the end of the year.
But residents remain concerned the multi-million pound plan still includes demolition of historic Elms Parade and Field House, a 60-flat retirement complex.
They have set up West Way Community Concerns to lobby the developer over the plans, which include a new library and a multi-screen cinema.
Last night campaigner Chris Church said: “All the evidence we have heard so far is that there has not been a lot of listening. What we have heard is that Elms Parade is still included and there is still talk of a cinema, even though there are plans for one in the Westgate.
“We want to see West Way as a centre for the community.”
Doric spokeswoman Lindsay McCallum said Elms Parade and Field House had been included in the Vale of White Horse District Council’s draft local plan for development and the company was simply following this.
A lot of the “community elements” such as the community centre, the library and the Baptist Church had increased in size, and she added: “There will be a focus on small retailers but a lot of the previous elements are still there.”
A health centre was in the pipeline, with several surgeries looking to move to the area.
Andrew Shea, who runs Andrew’s Dry Cleaners in the West Way, said: “We need a bigger supermarket, but I don’t think we need a massive one.”
Elms Parade remains in the hands of the Howse family, who built it in 1937.
Trustee Arthur Howse said: “We have no intention of selling and have have no need to sell. I will be going to the consultation this week.
“They say they are listening but the public has all said no to student accommodation and I have heard they will still put student accommodation in.”
Vale of the White Horse District Council leader Matthew Barber said: “The West Way has served Botley and the surrounding area very well for a number of decades.
“However it has certainly seen better days and needs to be developed so it can provide the facilities that people need.”
The consultations are at Botley Baptist Church today and tomorrow, 4pm to 8pm, and Saturday 11am to 3pm.
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