Premier Inn hotel set for opening in Banbury town centre as Castle Quay Waterfront development progresses
A new Premier Inn hotel is expected to open next week as part of the Castle Quay Waterfront development in the town centre of Banbury.
Officials with Cherwell District Council and Castle Quay took the Banbury Guardian on a tour of the waterfront development this week. The Premier Inn hotel overlooking the Oxford Canal in the town centre will offer more than 100 rooms for people to stay in when they visit Banbury. The new hotel is expected to open on Friday August 20.
A new Lidl supermarket, also part of the Castle Quay Waterfront project, is set to open later this week on Thursday August 12.
The new development will transform the area into a thriving canal side destination, complete with The Light© Cinema, Lidl supermarket, Premier Inn hotel and restaurants.
The project also includes a large building overlooking the canal with The Light© Cinema and three restaurants inside it. The Light will be opening a high-quality entertainment experience, including a bowling offer in Easter 2022. The cinema will have eight movie screens and seat more than 800 people. The Light is also expected to offer an outdoor terrace cinema overlooking the canal.
Cherwell District Council officials said they are on track for the building to be turned over by late September to the cinema for its fitting out process, which typically takes 16 weeks.
The waterfront development project also includes a recently completed new paved cycle path from Spiceball Park to the Banbury Train Station.
Work on the site Castle Quay Waterfront development site has been carried out in line with Government guidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic. Contractors and construction company, McLaren Group, has had very few Covid stoppages throughout the building process of the project.
Cllr Ian Corkin, deputy leader of Cherwell District Council, said: "The council's priority is to bring the canal back into the centre of the town as a feature. The canal is superb asset through the town, and we know there is more we can do with it."
Cllr Corkin said the waterfront project was never about bringing in more shops, but looking for ways to help keep people in the town centre longer. The focus and vision for the project is continuing to provide a way to attract people to the town centre of Banbury, not just to shop, but for the day out.
He added: "We're nearly 50 per cent ahead of the national average for people coming back out.
"Banbury has a unique offering. It's about investing in the social fabric of the town.
"It's about making Banbury a destination place for tourism and leisure.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic Banbury is bouncing back with footfall continuing to increase every week – last week footfall rose 2 per cent (against a national average of 0.2%).
The council expects footfall to increase steadily each week as visitors feel more and more comfortable venturing out, and tourists visit the town again.
Compared to UK wide centres, Banbury sits in the top 7 per cent of UK centres when ranked on Comparison Goods spend, according to CACI 2021 Data acquired by the council.