7:00am Saturday 21st December 2013
By Katriona Ormiston
CHANGES to controversial plans for a £100m redevelopment of Botley’s West Way shopping centre have been revealed.
Alterations include cutting the height of parts of the building significantly and reducing the number of student rooms from 600 to 525.
A hotel and gym were also added to the new plans, as well as design changes and more space for smaller shops.
However, the size of the hotel has not been revealed, but the developer said it would be small.
The new scheme would see the site - which under the original plans would have been seven storeys tall - cut back in some areas by four floors.
The changes were revealed after developers Doric Properties submitted a planning application yesterday to Vale of White Horse District Council for permission to knock down and rebuild West Way, Elms Parade of shops, and the Field House sheltered housing site.
A six-screen Cineworld cinema, health centre, restaurants, shops, supermarket and 550-space car park are all still included in the plans.
And two new community halls and new library in the original plans unveiled in September still form part of the scheme.
Co-owner-director of Doric, Simon Hillcox, said: “We’re delighted by the changes to the scheme, which have transformed the design and which have been informed by our discussions with the community.
“We’ve taken off up to four storeys off West Way and made significant improvements to the way the scheme looks. We’ve brought in a gym, as requested, and had very positive discussion with a farmers market about using the piazza. But campaigners say the changes have not gone far enough.
West Way Community Concern formed this year in opposition to Doric’s plans.
Co-chairman Chris Church said: “Our bottom line has always been that we want to see Elms Parade shops and Field House preserved in the development and it seems as though neither of them have been.
“I think it is very likely we would continue to object very strongly to these proposals.
“We welcome a cut in height but the issues around traffic and environmental impact are unchanged. Until we see the plans in more detail, I do not know any more than that.”
Mr Church said his group would be meeting today to discuss details about the application.
A petition of more than 2,000 people objecting to the plans was handed in to the council this month.
Oxford City Council is also objecting, saying the proposed development was too large, would generate too much traffic and impact city centre shops.
Full details of the plans are being processed by the Vale council before a public consultation is set to start on January 6.
Vale spokesman Natalie Ellis said a consultation period would run for six weeks.
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