It is interesting to contemplate what visitors from less affluent parts of the country would make of the strength of local opposition to the plans to transform Botley.

The idea of a £100m regeneration would strike many urban areas as good news, especially if it delivered a community hall, library, six-screen cinema, shops and provided new age-restriced accommodation, while helping to reduce the number of students seeking accommodation in the private sector.

The realisation that the developer is a company responsible for the award winning extension to Oxford’s world famous Ashmolean, the Said Business School and the refurbishment of the New Bodleian Library would surely bring further cheer.

Perhaps the imaginary visitor would imagine this West Way shopping centre to be a place of tranquillity, beautiful architecture or interest.

It would surely be something of a shock to find a Co-op, Tesco’s, tired 1960s shops, tiny library and non-descript community hall. Yet the response to the revised plans now submitted to the Vale of the White Horse District Council from Chris Church, for West Way Community Concern, was dismissive. “Cosmetic”, “cobbled together” and “last throw of the dice,” he says.

There was a time when campaigners would suggest that Doric was a company that no one had heard of, darkly wondering whether sufficient money was there to ensure a quality development. With Mace now signed up as a partner that is clearly no longer the case and “cobbling together” would surely be an unusual approach by a company responsible for landmark buildings across London and Oxford.

Local councillor Debby Hallett, in a more measured response, is right to identify the loss of Elms Parade, Field House, the age-restricted accommodation, and the vicarage as the main concerns.

With the developers committed to replacing Field House, it really comes down to whether preserving Elms Parade, dating from 1937, giving the row of shops a pleasing, if not spectacularly beautiful frontage, is worth missing out on this opportunity. But it also comes down to the scale.

For good or ill this development will transform Botley forever, making it a busy — some might say thriving — centre on the edge of the city. Whatever Mace “cobbles” together there will be many who will oppose the thought of anything more than a lick of paint.

Far worse things have been done — and more precious architecture lost — in Abingdon and indeed Oxford itself. It really comes down to how the western edge of Oxford should look — even if it does fall within the Vale boundary.

Embracing change is never easy, particularly on this scale. But it is time for clear thinking and not sentimentality.