After a somewhat ambiguous statement regarding the CQ2 development earlier this month, Cherwell District Council has now confirmed its commitment – and set out the way forward.
Work was to begin this summer on the ambitious development which had already been delayed by a year due to the previous owners, Aberdeen Standard Investments, backing out and selling the existing Castle Quay Shopping Centre to CDC.
But after the BG reported a fortnight ago that Canal Day could go ahead this year on October 14 because the start on CQ2 was being delayed, speculation began to surface about what this meant for the future of the scheme.
However, a bullet point statement released on Tuesday to the BG, by Redwood Consulting, the London PR firm CDC has hired to market the scheme due to its expertise in the retail sector, said ground breaking will take place shortly after Canal Day.
And it also confirmed that tenants that had previously committed to the scheme remain on board, including The Light Cinema, Premier Inn, Lidl, Nando’s and Zizzi.
The postponement from a summer start was to enable CDC to ‘revise elements of the scheme’. The statement says this is specifically about the connectivity between Castle Quay, CQ2, Spiceball Leisure Centre and The Mill.
This more holistic approach to the build will allow fluidity of movement for visitors and integrate the town centre, Castle Quay and CQ2 more seamlessly. These changes do not require additional planning permission.
The statement also says that discussions are ongoing with other interested occupiers, although details are commercially sensitive so information cannot be shared at this stage.
Beginning sometime in October the build will take 100 weeks, just under two years, to complete and the council will issue regular updates on its progress.
It also hopes to have a ‘pop-up’ unit in Castle Quay containing additional information on the plans and will allow residents to drop in and ask questions.
Some disruption, including the demolition of one of the canal side carparks, will be incurred but CDC say they remain committed to delivering CQ2.