first_imgThe Westgate Alliance has released plans for the re-development of the Westgate Centre, which will gain 100 new shops, including a large John Lewis store. The project is expected to cost 400 million pounds and be completed by 2017.Apart from shops the new Centre will also have a cinema, an underground car park and a roof top terrace. The expansion was first proposed in 1988 but it has suffered from delays for a variety of reasons.Public opinion appears to be largely in favour of the project. A public consultation has shown that a majority of respondents support the proposal, as has an ongoing poll by the Oxford Mail.There has however been some opposition by the Oxford Architectural and Historical Society concerning the impact of the development on city views.The society commented that, “Buildings should preserve and enhance historic environment by opening up townscape, not concealing it.”A second year Merton historian and member of the society has also added, “The more modern aspects of the building seem slightly out of touch with the rest of the city.”The Westgate Alliance has emphasised that the development will fit into its surroundings. The development manager Sara Fuge stated that “all our architects have done a lot of research into the buildings around Oxford and they have taken a lot of cues from that.”Meanwhile first year Georgiana Devlin said, “I don’t care about the design of the building as long as Primark and Poundland are still there.” Neither shop has yet announced whether it intends to operate in the new site.The new Westgate will have over 72,000 square metres of new retail space and is projected to create 3,400 new jobs.last_img