Westgate, Oxford

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Westgate Oxford
New Westgate Oxford Dec 2017.jpg
Inside view of the new Westgate Oxford shopping centre
LocationOxford, England
Coordinates51°45′04″N 1°15′40″W / 51.751°N 1.261°W / 51.751; -1.261Coordinates: 51°45′04″N 1°15′40″W / 51.751°N 1.261°W / 51.751; -1.261
Opening date1972 (original building)
Tuesday 24 October 2017 (enlarged building)
ArchitectOriginal building: Douglas Murray Enlarged scheme: BDP, Dixon Jones, Allies & Morrison, Panter Hudspith, Glen Howells Architects
No. of stores and services125
No. of anchor tenants1 (John Lewis)
Total retail floor area800,000 square feet (74,000 m2)
WebsiteWestgate Oxford
Part of the back of the Westgate Shopping Centre (1972–2016)
The former multi-storey car park of Westgate which was demolished early 2015 ahead of redevelopment.
Westgate Social renamed to Social Street Food in July 2018 to increase visibility after a business in the Westgate Social closed down 7 months since the centre open in October 2017.

The Westgate Centre (recently rebranded as Westgate Oxford) is a major shopping centre in Oxford city centre, England, that was extensively remodelled and extended between 2016–17. The original centre was built between 1970–72, designed by Douglas Murray and built by Taylor Woodrow.[1] The centre was closed in February 2016 for comprehensive redevelopment, and reopened on Tuesday 24 October 2017.[2]

Westgate Social is a food court inside Westgate Oxford

Location[edit]

Westgate is at the west end of Queen Street, facing onto Bonn Square where the medieval West Gate into the city of Oxford once stood. The shopping centre is named after this former gateway into the medieval city. The site is bordered by Bonn Square, St Ebbes Street, Norfolk Street, Abbey Place, Oxpens Road, Old Greyfriars Street and Castle Street, and is adjacent to the medieval Oxford Castle quarter to the northwest.

Redevelopment[edit]

Plans for the redevelopment of the Westgate area were originally published in 2004.[3] Over the next several years, the plan underwent several rounds of consultation and inquiry.[4] The current plan was adopted in the early 2010s, and development permission granted in November 2014.[5] Work on the development started in early 2015, and the original centre closed in 2016.

The developer is the Westgate Oxford Alliance, a joint venture between the Crown Estate and Land Securities Group Plc.[6][7]

The new centre has almost 800,000 square feet (74,000 m2) of retail, restaurant and leisure space including a new John Lewis, a rooftop dining terrace with views across Oxford's iconic skyline, and a five screen Curzon Cinema.[5] According to Oxford City Council, "the £500 million redevelopment of the Westgate Centre is a key part of the regeneration of Oxford city centre, creating high quality buildings designed by world-class architects and providing more than 3,400 new full-time equivalent jobs."[8][9] The new centre reopened on 24 October 2017.[10]

New facilities[edit]

The new Westgate has features and facilities including:[8]

  • About 100 new shops including a John Lewis department store and various high street retailers
  • Cafés and restaurants
  • Leisure facilities including a cinema
  • New landscaped walkway along Castle Mill Stream
  • Two new public squares
  • New pedestrian routes through the site
  • Re-routed bus lane and new taxi drop-off / pick up
  • Cycle parking
  • Two-storey basement car park of between 900 and 1,100 spaces
  • 59 new one- and two-bedroom flats (apartments)[5]

Criticism[edit]

Archeological remains[edit]

When the original centre was built in the 1970s, excavations for the service basements destroyed archaeological remains of part of medieval Oxford.[11]

Further criticisms against the 2015–2017 redevelopment claimed the destruction of "the extensive remains of the medieval Greyfriars friary (AD 1244–1538)" in favour of an underground car park.[12]

Urban planning and architecture[edit]

In 2008 a local campaign group, called "Oxford Against Westgate Expansion", was formed to oppose the proposed redevelopment.[citation needed] The campaigners were critical of the consultation process that led to the approval of the plans and several aspects of the proposed design.

There have also been concerns over the imposing and largely windowless wall at the southwest of the latest redevelopment on Oxpens Road by conservationists, including the Oxford Civic Society.[13]

Cycle parking[edit]

Inadequately positioned spaces for cycle parking and breach of planning conditions.[14]

Queen Street closure[edit]

Oxfordshire County Council sought to ban buses from using Queen Street, which passes the Westgate Centre's main entrance. The council alleged that the increase in pedestrian numbers generated by the enlarged shopping centre would mean that it would no longer be safe for buses to use the street. The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, declined the application, pointing out that the council had failed to provide evidence of its claim.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Westgate Centre". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. London: Macmillan. pp. 495–496. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
  2. ^ Campbell, Loughlan (29 October 2015). "Shops to shut for Westgate demolition". Oxfordshire Guardian. Taylor Newspapers.
  3. ^ "The Westgate Partnership wins strong support for design proposals". Capital Shopping Centres. UK: Capital Shopping Centres. 14 December 2005.
  4. ^ Sheldrick, Giles (5 December 2007). "Westgate inquiry under way". Oxford Times. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Our Plans". Westgate Oxford. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  6. ^ "About Us". Westgate Oxford. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Westgate Oxford Alliance". Westgate Oxford. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Westgate". Oxford City Council. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Oxford's £500m Westgate Centre gets go-ahead". Architects Journal. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Westgate Oxford – The ultimate retail and lifestyle destination". Westgate Oxford. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  11. ^ Hassall, Tom (1987). Oxford: The Buried City. Oxford Archaeological Unit. p. 7. ISBN 0-904220-09-5.
  12. ^ "Westgate Oxford". Oxford Archaeology. 2017.
  13. ^ Ffrench, Andy (25 May 2017). "Concerns over centre's 'stark' wall – Part of design for Westgate is critised". The Oxford Times. p. 7.
  14. ^ "Cyclox » Westgate cycle parking statement Oct 17". Cyclox.
  15. ^ "Minister declines bus ban request". BBC News. 8 November 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2017.

External links[edit]