One of the most rewarding aspects of being involved in local government is the chance to help provide the investment and planning that our communities need to help them flourish and grow.
So the start of work on the new Castle Quay development, first announced in last week’s Banbury Guardian, is a really exciting landmark in Banbury’s history, and one that I wholeheartedly welcome.
One of the key goals of the development – which we at Cherwell District Council have been honing over the past few months – is not only to offer people new options for shopping and nights out, but to give the town centre as a whole a lift in terms of the investment and footfall it attracts.
Having a cinema, more restaurants and a town centre supermarket will elevate Banbury’s position as a destination.
But a great deal of work has gone into thinking how people move through Castle Quay and the canalside area too.
Because of our commitment to Spiceball Leisure Centre and The Mill Arts Centre, we are seeing the picture and considering how all of its elements interact.
So our plans include features such as a new pedestrian bridge and a better interface between the new development and the existing Castle Quay shops.
By improving the ease of access throughout the site and into other areas of the town, we will create a more pleasant experience for everyone.
I hope that people will be inspired to visit Banbury to watch a concert at The Mill – where council support has helped secure the future of the performing arts in the town – before enjoying a meal out at one of the new restaurants and staying overnight at the new hotel.
Equally, it will be easy to combine a trip to the supermarket with a gym session at Spiceball, or follow up a family visit to Banbury Museum with a movie.
With other council investments coming forward at The Hill and the former Admiral Holland site in Bretch Hill, our approach to regenerating key areas of Banbury gives us much to look forward to in the town.