A massive 'no' to West Way development plans

The latest artist’s impression of the plans for the West Way development

The latest artist’s impression of the plans for the West Way development

First published in News
Last updated
The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by

MORE than 800 people have responded to plans for the £100m redevelopment of West Way shopping centre in Botley, Oxford.

While some have urged developers Doric Properties to overhaul the centre, a majority of 87 per cent have objected to the proposals. Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood lent her voice in opposition to the development, urging Vale of White Horse District Council to reject the application in an eight-page letter.

Doric wants to knock down West Way shopping centre, Elms Parade shops, Field House sheltered housing and the empty Elms Court office block.

It wants to build an extended shopping and cinema complex, including a hotel and gym.

ALMOST 90 per cent of people who responded to plans to demolish and rebuild Oxford’s West Way shopping centre have objected.

Of the 827 who had their say on Doric Properties’ £100m scheme to bulldoze Elms Parade and build a six-screen Cineworld cinema, supermarket, hotel and 525 student flats, 722 people (87 per cent) said it shouldn’t go ahead.

And just 20 people (two per cent) thought the development should go ahead.

The remaining comments were either neutral, missing data, repeats or not yet processed.

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Last night, co-chairman of the West Way Community Concern group, Chris Church, said they were delighted with such a “huge response”.

He said: “We hoped for 300 objections...once again local people have responded way beyond our expectations.

“The Vale of White Horse District Council needs to recognise the huge level of opposition, and the lack of any significant local support.”

Doric wants to demolish the empty shops, derelict Elms Court office block, West Way shopping centre, Botley Library, Seacourt Hall, Field House sheltered housing, the Botley Baptist Church, and the vicarage to St Peter and St Paul’s Church.

Residents have called the plans an “overdevelopment” of the site and called for it to be scaled down.

Poplar Road resident Ruth Ashwell, 55, has lived in Botley for 20 years.

The mum-of-one said: “The development is far too big and doesn’t take into account local people’s opinions, it’s an overdevelopment.

“It is creating a district centre but we need a local shopping centre.”

Doric co-director Simon Hillcox said: “We recognise that there has been an organised campaign for submitting objections, however we remain encouraged by the supportive comments we do receive through other means such as on our Facebook page and in the comments section of the Oxford Mail.

“Now that the consultation period is coming to a close, we will be considering the feedback received by the council in detail before deciding how to respond. Encouragingly, all the responses from statutory consultees received to date raise no objections to the application.”

MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Nicola Blackwood opposed the plans in an eight-page letter to the Vale.

She wrote: “This is clearly a popular and well-loved part of Botley, which residents regard as a central hub of the local community. It has also been apparent in recent years that some of the existing West Way buildings are a little tired and in need of repair, so like many residents I would agree it would benefit from new investment.

“However any development must work with and for the residents of Botley and I believe that this proposal as submitted does not achieve that.”

SOME OF THE COMMENTS

FOR

Darren Smith, who lives by the Southern Bypass: “The West Way Centre is in dire need of redevelopment and Doric’s plans are exactly what the area needs.”

Poplar Road resident James Hodgkins: “I am glad that these plans are finally in place to turn Botley into the best part of Oxford to live.”

AGAINST

Lime Road resident Lisa Probert: “We do not need what is effectively an out-of-town shopping and leisure complex in such a residential area.”

Hids Copse Road resident Harriet Bretherton: “There is no way that the existing roads will be able to cope with the envisaged increase in traffic – 30,000 movements.”

Comments (12)

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11:23am Wed 2 Apr 14

Mark L says...

Cant they re develop Templars Square?!

That needs modernising!
Cant they re develop Templars Square?! That needs modernising! Mark L
  • Score: 5

11:48am Wed 2 Apr 14

mytaxes says...

No there is bound to be a bunch of NIMBYS there also!
No there is bound to be a bunch of NIMBYS there also! mytaxes
  • Score: -5

12:42pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Mark L wrote:
Cant they re develop Templars Square?!

That needs modernising!
The problem with redeveloping Templar's Square is that it is a blended development mixing retail and private/social residential accommodation around the ageing residential towerblock.

It's not impossible, but it would require strong negotiation and project managment skills on the part of the city council. At the moment they seem more interested in whether one £1 is more ethical than another £1.
[quote][p][bold]Mark L[/bold] wrote: Cant they re develop Templars Square?! That needs modernising![/p][/quote]The problem with redeveloping Templar's Square is that it is a blended development mixing retail and private/social residential accommodation around the ageing residential towerblock. It's not impossible, but it would require strong negotiation and project managment skills on the part of the city council. At the moment they seem more interested in whether one £1 is more ethical than another £1. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -7

1:46pm Wed 2 Apr 14

nvinre says...

You can not say everyone is against it, the 1000's of people living in Botley who have not commented are for the development as they would have shouted like everyone else if they were against.

With all the new homes being built around Botley the current shops will be unable to support the community and people will shop elsewhere this will lead to the shops becoming empty and Botley becoming a ghost town.

You can't have everything you want to have Better it has to be Bigger, stop going on about the Student accommodation something has to pay for the development, people need a place to live and students would bring in loads of money for the local community which would benefit us all.

I just hope the council have common sense and realise the the 1000's of people who have not replied are going to be for the development, also a lot of the comments are from non-local people...how can that be a valid comment, Botley will soon no longer be a small town and a much larger community just look at all the new homes being built.

If this development does not go ahead we will be regretting it in a few year time. Pro Doric development, can't wait for it to all be finished.
You can not say everyone is against it, the 1000's of people living in Botley who have not commented are for the development as they would have shouted like everyone else if they were against. With all the new homes being built around Botley the current shops will be unable to support the community and people will shop elsewhere this will lead to the shops becoming empty and Botley becoming a ghost town. You can't have everything you want to have Better it has to be Bigger, stop going on about the Student accommodation something has to pay for the development, people need a place to live and students would bring in loads of money for the local community which would benefit us all. I just hope the council have common sense and realise the the 1000's of people who have not replied are going to be for the development, also a lot of the comments are from non-local people...how can that be a valid comment, Botley will soon no longer be a small town and a much larger community just look at all the new homes being built. If this development does not go ahead we will be regretting it in a few year time. Pro Doric development, can't wait for it to all be finished. nvinre
  • Score: -3

2:05pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Scrofulous Serf says...

Doric believe they have received validation through the usual bonkers comments on this site? You couldn't make it up. And it's not true to suggest statutory agencies are in favour. Oxford City Council has formally objected due to the pressures it will place on the city's infrastructure and the Highway Agency are seriously concerned about the impact on the A34. And well done to Nicola Blackwood for articulating the feelings of her constituents on the matter.
Doric believe they have received validation through the usual bonkers comments on this site? You couldn't make it up. And it's not true to suggest statutory agencies are in favour. Oxford City Council has formally objected due to the pressures it will place on the city's infrastructure and the Highway Agency are seriously concerned about the impact on the A34. And well done to Nicola Blackwood for articulating the feelings of her constituents on the matter. Scrofulous Serf
  • Score: -1

2:20pm Wed 2 Apr 14

mytaxes says...

Well said nvinre! The protestors do not seem to care about jobs or the younger generation. Most are NIMBYS who do not want the students. Even the Lib Dem in north Oxford standing for West Oxford and Abingdon in the elections next year tried to get in on the act, however, at least we now know she is against job creation. No doubt many of the protestors do not even use the shops in Botley as they prefer larger and better shops elsewhere.
Well said nvinre! The protestors do not seem to care about jobs or the younger generation. Most are NIMBYS who do not want the students. Even the Lib Dem in north Oxford standing for West Oxford and Abingdon in the elections next year tried to get in on the act, however, at least we now know she is against job creation. No doubt many of the protestors do not even use the shops in Botley as they prefer larger and better shops elsewhere. mytaxes
  • Score: -1

3:04pm Wed 2 Apr 14

cuckoo says...

'Doric wants to demolish the empty shops, derelict Elms Court office block, West Way shopping centre, Botley Library, Seacourt Hall, Field House sheltered housing, the Botley Baptist Church, and the vicarage to St Peter and St Paul’s Church'.

1:Can't help but imagine that the opponents objected mainly to the sheltered housing/church/libra
ry and vicarage being demolished!
2: Empty shops and a derelict building surely cannot add to the overall 'pleasant feel' and 'bouyancy' of the area.
3:BTW: Why the empty shops if Elms Parade/West way shops are so loved by Botley residents!..........
....just wondering!
'Doric wants to demolish the empty shops, derelict Elms Court office block, West Way shopping centre, Botley Library, Seacourt Hall, Field House sheltered housing, the Botley Baptist Church, and the vicarage to St Peter and St Paul’s Church'. 1:Can't help but imagine that the opponents objected mainly to the sheltered housing/church/libra ry and vicarage being demolished! 2: Empty shops and a derelict building surely cannot add to the overall 'pleasant feel' and 'bouyancy' of the area. 3:BTW: Why the empty shops if Elms Parade/West way shops are so loved by Botley residents!.......... ....just wondering! cuckoo
  • Score: -2

3:12pm Wed 2 Apr 14

robbo81 says...

I think people need to realise that there WILL be a development, at present it is damage limitation in the area. So residents who object need to find area's they'll happily concede on. But what they need to realise is that oxford needs to expand as there is physically nowhere within Oxford City itself to build more accommodation for students, they have already built in temple cowley, headington, marston, east oxford. They cannot build on the greenbelt so the only feasible area is Botley.

Before they argue on this, i wonder how many residents in Botley rely on the Universities of Oxford for income either directly or indirectly (via the tourism OX Uni generates) you cannot have your cake and eat it!

I also don't see the argument in the increase to traffic. If anything it'll reduce traffic - hear me out NIMBY's!!!! people of Botley where do you currently do your main shop?? kidlington, greater leys Tesco, headington Waitrose, home delivery? Where do you currently go for leisure? Summertown pool, barton/blackbird leys? Virgin active, david lloyd? how about the cinema, you head in to town? to the kassam? bicester perhaps?

See my point, your option at the minute are to all get in your cars and travel. if they build a cinema in Botley i will still walk to the UPP or get a bus to Odeon in town. I will still use the gym at my work. and i will still stop at Heyford Sainsburys on my way home to shop. I won't drive to Botley.

For me the concession would be to have a good mix of the independants shops already in Botley - eg butchers etc. Perhaps a reduction in size of the cinema to 3 or 4 screen and scrap the plan for the hotel, that's completely unecessary. Some form of deal on better access from the A34/better traffic controls in the area would be needed before it can be built. but essentially I don't see how you can stop a development of some kind. Land needs to generate a profit for its owner, if it doesn't they will jack up the rents and do the bare minimum for upkeep until the tenants all leave, then they'll bulldoze it and do whatever they want anyway. At least save what you can now and negotiate for a better future.
I think people need to realise that there WILL be a development, at present it is damage limitation in the area. So residents who object need to find area's they'll happily concede on. But what they need to realise is that oxford needs to expand as there is physically nowhere within Oxford City itself to build more accommodation for students, they have already built in temple cowley, headington, marston, east oxford. They cannot build on the greenbelt so the only feasible area is Botley. Before they argue on this, i wonder how many residents in Botley rely on the Universities of Oxford for income either directly or indirectly (via the tourism OX Uni generates) you cannot have your cake and eat it! I also don't see the argument in the increase to traffic. If anything it'll reduce traffic - hear me out NIMBY's!!!! people of Botley where do you currently do your main shop?? kidlington, greater leys Tesco, headington Waitrose, home delivery? Where do you currently go for leisure? Summertown pool, barton/blackbird leys? Virgin active, david lloyd? how about the cinema, you head in to town? to the kassam? bicester perhaps? See my point, your option at the minute are to all get in your cars and travel. if they build a cinema in Botley i will still walk to the UPP or get a bus to Odeon in town. I will still use the gym at my work. and i will still stop at Heyford Sainsburys on my way home to shop. I won't drive to Botley. For me the concession would be to have a good mix of the independants shops already in Botley - eg butchers etc. Perhaps a reduction in size of the cinema to 3 or 4 screen and scrap the plan for the hotel, that's completely unecessary. Some form of deal on better access from the A34/better traffic controls in the area would be needed before it can be built. but essentially I don't see how you can stop a development of some kind. Land needs to generate a profit for its owner, if it doesn't they will jack up the rents and do the bare minimum for upkeep until the tenants all leave, then they'll bulldoze it and do whatever they want anyway. At least save what you can now and negotiate for a better future. robbo81
  • Score: 2

4:17pm Wed 2 Apr 14

The New Private Eye says...

NIMBYS at their best. Out of a local population of over 15,000 only 800 were anti. That just about says it all.
NIMBYS at their best. Out of a local population of over 15,000 only 800 were anti. That just about says it all. The New Private Eye
  • Score: -6

7:12pm Wed 2 Apr 14

cruickshank says...

It is very true that there are a lot of younger busy people that are in favour of the development that haven't got the time to protest, but unless someone starts up a support group the protesters will have thier way.
Everyone that would like to see a vibrant center with interesting shops and a cinema in an environment that would be a pleasure to visit should say so now or it will be too late.
It is true to say that some of the people protesting against it dont live in Botley and there are a lot of people so against us having a nice upermarket that do clog up the A34 doing thier shopping elsewhere.
It is very true that there are a lot of younger busy people that are in favour of the development that haven't got the time to protest, but unless someone starts up a support group the protesters will have thier way. Everyone that would like to see a vibrant center with interesting shops and a cinema in an environment that would be a pleasure to visit should say so now or it will be too late. It is true to say that some of the people protesting against it dont live in Botley and there are a lot of people so against us having a nice upermarket that do clog up the A34 doing thier shopping elsewhere. cruickshank
  • Score: 0

11:17pm Wed 2 Apr 14

stumac says...

Robbo81. For Botley folk probably pop up the road the the brookes campus pool and gym which serves the 7 local Primary schools too. It's quite a bit closer than all the leisure facilities you mention and a fraction of the price.
Robbo81. For Botley folk probably pop up the road the the brookes campus pool and gym which serves the 7 local Primary schools too. It's quite a bit closer than all the leisure facilities you mention and a fraction of the price. stumac
  • Score: 7

11:19pm Wed 2 Apr 14

stumac says...

Robbo81. I think a lot if folk pop up the road to use the Botley leisure centre which is a fraction of the price of all the guns and pools you mention.
Robbo81. I think a lot if folk pop up the road to use the Botley leisure centre which is a fraction of the price of all the guns and pools you mention. stumac
  • Score: 6

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