For the second year running Banbury’s popular Canal Day Festival is back on after a delay to work on the Castle Quay 2 development.
In 2017 plans to start work on the £60 million complex – set to include a seven -screen cinema, a hotel, several restaurants and a Lidl supermarket – were pushed back from August until after October 1.
This allowed Banbury Town Council to hastily organise Canal Day in just two months.
The next twist in the tale came in November of that year when it was announced that Aberdeen Standard Investments, owners of the existing Castle Quay Shopping Centre and the driving force behind the CQ2 development, was pulling out entirely.
It was at that point Cherwell District Council (CDC) stepped in with a bold proposition to buy the shopping centre and save the CQ2 development.
The deal was finalised in January this year with Cllr Tony Ilott, lead member for finance, stating: “This is a significant day in the history of Cherwell District Council as we embark on the first step of our journey to regenerate the centre of Banbury.” Work was due to start this summer meaning Canal Day would not take place.
But action on CQ2 has again been postponed with Cherwell saying it wanted to have a fresh look at the scheme and it made sense to allow Canal Day to happen on October 14, before work began.
In a statement Cllr Lynne Pratt, lead member for economy, regeneration and property, stressed activity would start soon after the event.
She said: “Cherwell District Council is committed to delivering this vision for Castle Quay 2, and we are working hard behind the scenes with a team of experts on the plans.
“As the proposals did not progress under the previous applicant, we are taking this opportunity to revise elements of the scheme to align this with our vision for the wider area.
“As both the local authority and owner of the site, we want this development to fit seamlessly into the centre of Banbury, connecting to both Castle Quay shopping centre and Spiceball Leisure Centre.
“Cherwell District Council is therefore taking this opportunity to ensure that we really deliver for the local community.
She added: “As works behind the scenes continue, we have decided to delay the start of works until after Canal Day, to allow this much-loved event to take place.
“This is an important fixture in Banbury’s calendar and it is important to us that the local community get to enjoy this.
“We will be on site in the weeks following Canal Day, and we hope to share more information soon and will keep the local community informed regarding the programme of works at the earliest opportunity.”