A multi-million pound deal to transfer ownership of Castle Quay to Cherwell District Council has been finalised, signifying the first step to regenerate Banbury town centre.
Contracts have now been signed by representatives of the council and the precinct’s former majority shareholder, Aberdeen Standard Investments, increasing Cherwell’s shares from 15 to 100 per cent.
The deal also represents a commitment by the council to bring forward the proposed Castle Quay 2 development on land adjacent to Castle Quay, comprising a multi-screen cinema, supermarket, restaurants and hotel.
Lead member for finance Cllr Tony Ilott said: “Our vision is to regenerate the whole of the centre of the Banbury, including Canalside, Tramway and Bolton Road.
“We have already worked to bring existing brownfield sites back into use at Crown House and Town Centre House.
“Now we want to go one step further by delivering a quality shopping experience in Castle Quay and a thriving night-time economy through Castle Quay 2.
“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.
“By investing in the shopping centre we are also investing in the future of our town which extends further than the parameters of the precinct to incorporate the scenic canal and the historic old town.”
Having completed the purchase of Castle Quay, Cherwell says it will now seek to improve the shopping centre and entice new retailers by reviewing the size of the units and readdressing how the precinct fronts onto the canal.
This work will coincide with the council’s plans to bring forth the delivery of Castle Quay 2, which will get underway in the summer.
This will start with the seven screen cinema, which will be operated by The Light, and the supermarket which Lidl will manage on the site of the former Spiceball Leisure Centre.
These are due to open in 2020 and will be accompanied by a Premier Inn hotel, six restaurants and a kiosk – increased parking provision will also be provided for as part of the development.