Plans for the Banbury Gateway out-of-town retail park took another step forward this week with the announcement that a building contractor has been appointed.
McLaren Construction has been lined up by LXB developers to build the park which will contain a Next, a Primark and a Marks & Spencer on the current Prodrive site at the Wildmere Industrial Estate, with work set to begin in September .
Jon McCarthy, development principal at LXB, said he was happy to be working with McLaren as the ‘preferred contractor’ but said a price is yet to be finalised.
Rob Kinchin-Smith, chairman of Banbury Civic Society, said now the work is imminent all parties involved must pull together to ensure Gateway is a success for Banbury.
He welcomed the Next superstore and the Marks & Spencer store because he said their large size and stock will provide a different offering to anything available in Banbury, but expressed concern that the announcement Primark is to move to the centre might be a signal the remainder of units will be a similar offering to the town centre and the Banbury Cross Retail Park.
He added: “We need to work to promote Banbury Old Town so it becmoes more attractive to visitors in its own right. Its survival does not depend on the Gateway.”
Prodrive is set to begin a phased move to a new build at Noral Way or a site next to the M40 and has planning permission for both sites. It will also retain a scaled down operation at Acorn Way for a period of time.
The Gateway development was first approved by Cherwell District Council in March 2012.
It is expected to create between 800-1,000 jobs.