FED-UP householders in Botley have cautiously welcomed small signs of progress in the long-delayed project to build a new West Way shopping centre.

Developers Mace were forced to rethink plans for trucks entering and exiting the proposed west Oxford building site after concerns were raised by both Oxfordshire County Council and cycling campaigners.

County and district councillors, who recently met representatives from Mace, have now reported that the developer will unveil changes to its plans on September 4 in a bid to resolve the impasse.

The county council objected to an entrance way in Chapel Way, claiming it would impede traffic in the area.

Vale of White Horse district councillor Debby Hallet said she believed Mace expected their amendments to the application would satisfy the county council.

Mary Gill, Chair of West Way Community Concern, said she was waiting to see the detail before believing that the start of work could finally be in sight.

She added: “If Mace do feel confident that they can satisfy the county council now, it begs the question why didn’t they do this six months ago when all these unnecessary delays could have been avoided?”

Cycling campaigners believe that Mace will bow to pressure and change to a ‘right-in, right out’ system for getting trucks on and off the site, which they believe will be safer for cyclists riding along West Way.

Cyclist John Blackie said: “It was quite clear to any cyclist that 'left in, left out' was a pretty awful solution.

“We are waiting to see what they come up with on September 4 but it looks like our message has got through.

“Without the publicity, they would never have withdrawn the initial application in the first place.

“Sometimes when people are planning these developments, they can forget about the people whose lives will be affected.

“But the last thing they want is a disaster. If a cyclist was to be killed, there would be one hell of a row.

“If common sense has prevailed then that’s good news for everyone.”

Once the amendments are received by district council planners, a two week consultation will begin and the final application will go to the district council planning committee in October.

The original 1960s shopping centre is set to be demolished and replaced with new shops, a hotel and student accommodation.

Debby Hallet said: “I’m hopeful that every change made from now on will improve both the safety of construction and also the final development.”

Mace declined to comment.