The interior of Templars Square in October 2008
|Opening date||May 1965 (as Cowley Centre)|
|No. of stores and services||63|
Templars Square is a shopping centre located in Between Towns Road, Cowley, Oxford, England. It was opened in 1965 and was known as Cowley Centre until 1989. It is the largest enclosed shopping centre in Oxford.
Development and construction
A shopping centre in central Cowley was first proposed in the late 1950s. By 1959, the proposal had received strong endorsement from Oxford City Council, and an embargo on new shopping developments along the nearby Cowley Road was enforced. The development was opposed by William Beveridge, who felt that Cowley was the wrong location for the centre.
Construction of the development, by now known as Cowley Centre, began in 1960. Its design was inspired by new town centres and North American shopping malls. The shopping centre designed by the Oxford City Architects E. G. Chandler and Douglas Murray. Between Towns Road was realigned when Cowley Centre was built.
Opening and subsequent history
In 1970, the Sainsbury's store at the northern end of the centre was extended, requiring the demolition of a local pub, which was rebuilt around twenty yards away. The Sainsbury's store later closed and was replaced by branches of Wilkinson and Iceland.
The centre was renamed to Templars Square in 1989, and celebrated its 20th year under the name with a series of events in August 2009. In January 2014 part of the centre's glass roof was damaged in a storm.
As of August 2009, Templars Square has 63 retailers, making it the largest shopping centre in Oxford. This number had decreased from 85 in 2002, partly because of the financial crisis of 2007–2010; one of the largest stores, Woolworth's, closed in December 2009. However, overall trade at the centre was largely unaffected by the recession. The Woolworth's site has since been taken over by 99p Stores. As of June 2010, the centre's occupancy rate is 96%.
Templars Square has a six-storey car park. This opened in 1964, a year before the shopping centre. In July 2009 the top deck of the car park was temporarily closed after three people died by falling from it.
The centre is located adjacent to the Templars Retail Park, which is legally restricted to non-food sales to avoid competition with the centre. In December 2010 a proposal was announced to relax the restriction and open a new supermarket at the site, which was opposed by the centre's management. This has since changed with a Sainsburys superstore opening in this retail park.
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