Westgate Shopping Centre
(locally known as Westgate
) is a shopping centre in central Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...
Westgate is located at the west end of Queen Street
Queen Street is a shopping street in central Oxford, England. It is one-way for buses and taxis, two-way for cyclists outside main shopping hours, and forbidden for cars. It runs west from the centre of Oxford at Carfax...
, where the west gate of the city of Oxford used to be situated. A car park, including a multistory section, is attached to the shopping centre, with access from Oxpens Road
Oxpens Road is a road in central Oxford, England, linking west and south Oxford. It is named after the marshy area of Oxpens, next to one of the branches of the River Thames in Oxford.- Locale :...
. Plans to expand the shopping centre – tripling it in size – are well underway, with construction originally planned to start January 2009. However due to the economic downturn in the UK, particularly in the South East, the project has been postponed indefinitely with the possibility that the project will be scrapped.WESTGATE STARTED IN 1972
Bonn Square in Oxford, England, is named after the German city of Bonn with which Oxford is twinned. It is close to the original west gate of the city of Oxford, where the Westgate Shopping Centre is now located. To the east is Queen Street, a shopping street. New Inn Hall Street leads north from...
is close to the main entrance and Oxford Castle
Oxford Castle is a large, partly ruined Norman medieval castle situated on the west edge of Oxford in Oxfordshire, England. The original moated, wooden motte and bailey castle was replaced with stone in the 11th century and played an important role in the conflict of the Anarchy...
is to the northwest.
In September 2004, The Westgate Partnership published its master plan for the Westgate area of Oxford. This set out a strategy to provide improved and extended retail space as part of a wider regeneration of the Westgate area to ensure any new development is integrated into the surrounding area and takes into account the city’s history.
This was endorsed by the City and County Councils in October 2004. Following this, the Partnership worked on issues raised during the consultation period and in August 2005, published a Response to Consultation, which incorporated work undertaken with the Transport Working Group.
Since then, work has been undertaken on the detailed design in consultation with local stakeholders, including the local community and special interest groups. A detailed planning application was submitted on 13 June 2006.
On 9 March 2007, Capital Shopping Centres received approval for the extension and the partial redevelopment of the existing Westgate Shopping Centre.
The mixed-use scheme to regenerate the Westgate area includes:
- A shopping area of approximately 750,000 sq ft (69,675 m²), (including the existing centre) with 90 new shops, bars, restaurants and cafes, including a John Lewis department store and a defined area for smaller independent retailers
- Facilities include Shopmobility, toilets, baby care, a crèche and a children’s play area
- 127 new city centre apartments, 50% of which will be affordable homes
- A total refurbishment of the existing Westgate Centre
- A prominent new three-storey glazed entrance for Oxford’s County Library
- A roof-top garden, providing a local habitat for wildlife
- Landscaping strategy for the streets and green spaces around the development, including enhancements to the existing Paradise Square and the area alongside Castle Mill Stream
Castle Mill Stream is a backwater of the River Thames in the west of Oxford, England. It is 5.5 km long.-Course:The stream leaves the main course of the Thames at the south end of Port Meadow, immediately upstream of Medley Footbridge. It then flows under the Cherwell Valley railway line and turns...
- Designed to achieve “Very Good” ratings for BREEAM
BRE Environmental Assessment Method is a voluntary measurement rating for green buildings that was established in the UK by the Building Research Establishment . Since its inception it has since grown in scope and geographically, being exported in various guises across the globe...
for Retail and EcoHomes, with proposals to provide approximately on-site renewables, rainwater collection, green roofs and naturally ventilated malls
- Over 2,000 jobs will be created when the new retail offer opens, increasing the number employed in the centre to around 3,300. In addition, there will be around 2,000 jobs during construction. The Westgate Partnership has said it will support a programme of skills training in conjunction with the City Council, local colleges and job centres.
- Accessibility for all including provision for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and taxis
- A new 1,335-space multi-storey car park
A multi-storey car-park is a building designed specifically to be for car parking and where there are a number of floors or levels on which parking takes place...
- A significant investment in delivering improved public transport
The Westgate redevelopment is just part of a wider scheme proposed by the City Council. This scheme includes a total reroute of the centre of Oxford to "pedestrianise" the city.
The multi-million-pound scheme, entitled Transform Oxford, is only a blueprint for public consultation at this stage, but County Council officials are confident it will go ahead.
In 2008, a local campaign group called Oxford Against Westgate Expansion was set up to oppose the redevelopment. The campaigners are highly critical of the consultation process that led to the approval of the plans, and point out that the redevelopment would create more traffic and air pollution, demolish the Abbey Place sheltered housing complex and chop down 40 mature trees. An underground multi-storey car park is planned which campaigners say may increase flooding in Oxford due to its location on the flood plain. They also criticise the building's design, saying it would be highly inefficient and contribute to climate change.