Westgate Oxford Alliance, a joint venture between The Crown Estate and Land Securities, has been given outline planning for the redevelopment of the Westgate Centre and adjacent area. The scheme incorporates the construction of a new underground car park, shops, restaurants, a cinema and 122 flats.
According to the developer, the plans are to demolish the southern part of the Westgate Centre and multi-storey car park and existing residential accommodation.
In place of the existing developments, there will be 780,000 sq ft of new retail space for 100 new shops, anchored by a major John Lewis department store. Additionally, there will be space for cafes and restaurants, a cinema, a car park with a capacity of 1,000 spaces as well as 27 to 122 new homes.
The Oxford Civic Society had issues with the potential increase in traffic congestion, as the redevelopment would affect public highways and priority bus routes.
Similarly, the Oxford Architectural And Historical Society had concerns with how the height and scale of the development would impact on the city’s skyline.
A society spokesman commented: "Buildings should preserve and enhance [the] historic environment by opening up townscape, not concealing it."
The Westgate Alliance is now working on the detailed designs working with four architectural firms, Allies & Morrison, Dixon Jones Architects, Glen Howells Architects and Panter Hudspith. The process is being administered by Westgate masterplanners BDP.
Project team comprises of:
- Mace: Project Planning
- Davis Langdon: Cost consultant
- Waterman: Structural engineer
- Hoare Lea: Utility and service engineers
According to Westgate Alliance, the redevelopment would create more than 3,400 new jobs as well as 600 construction jobs a year during the construction phase. Works are expected to be completed by 2017.
Planning committee member, John Tanner, said: “I am very satisfied with the way things are going forward, bearing in mind this is an outline application.
“Oxford has been powering ahead as far as the universities are concerned and as far as the car plant is concerned but we have been hanging behind as far as the shopping centre is concerned.”