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Promising Westgate proposals must serve interests of local residents

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A planning application has gone in at last for the demolition of the southern part of the Westgate Centre, of 1-14 Abbey Place and of the multi-storey car park and for the refurbishment of the remaining Westgate Centre.

The proposal is to extend it as far as Oxpens Road, with a lot of new shops (including a John Lewis), restaurants, cafes, leisure attractions and homes.

New streets

In these new plans a two-storey underground car park is proposed. It wouldn't be an enclosed shopping centre -- they plan to create new streets, some for pedestrians only, and some covered with a transparent roof. There would be two new public squares and other public open spaces. Some aspects are still to be decided, for instance whether to include a cinema.

The Council is also considering plans for the area between the ice rink and Osney Lane; these are mainly for much-needed housing.

If the Westgate plans get permission, there will be temporary car parking at Oxpens.

Local residents

Cllr Anne-Marie Canning said "Any new Westgate development must serve the best interests of local residents. I will be keeping a close eye on its impact on existing businesses and amenities when our local planning committee makes the final decision. However, these exciting plans have the potential, if done in careful consultation with residents, to be a great boost for our area and the whole city "

Alex Hollingsworth said "This project is long overdue, but it's vital to get it right for everyone, not just the big retailers."

You can find out more by going to the City Council offices in St Aldate's Chambers opposite the Town Hall or by looking at the Council website.

Please tell us what you think and what you would like to see in the city centre.

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