Plans for a £35 million expansion of Banbury’s Castle Quay shopping centre will be submitted to Cherwell District Council by the end of the month, marking the final stages of a development plan that has taken four years.
The ambitious plans for what is being dubbed CQ2 outline the redevelopment of the canalside area next to General Foods Social club.
Included are plans for six restaurants and an eight-screen multiplex cinema capable of seating 1,300 film fans.
In addition there are plans for a hotel on the existing Castle Quay side of the canal and a supermarket, which would be constructed on the site of the former Spiceball Leisure Centre currently used as a temporary car park.
The cinema, cafe and restaurants would occupy the area opposite the multi-storey car park and would allow alfresco dining along the canal side. Details of potential occupiers of the new development will be released in the near future but a spokesman for the owners of the shopping centre, Aberdeen Asset Management, said the development will attract large chain restaurants that can be found in similar developments in Bicester and Oxford.
Cameron Murray from Aberdeen Asset Management, owners of Castle Quay, said: “Over recent years, it’s become clear that shoppers are increasingly favouring locations which offer an exciting combination of great shops and leisure outlets, such as restaurants, bars and entertainment.
“We’ve spent the past four years working on CQ2 with this in mind, developing a dynamic environment that appeals to the modern shopper, offers a wide range of entertainment options and encourages more people to come to Banbury.”
Construction, if approved, would go ahead on two current carparks but the plans involve an underground parking area along with parking spaces around the hotel and supermarket complex, resulting in an overall net gain in total spaces available.
Access to CQ2 will be achieved by the addition of extra roads and junctions from the bridge across the canal and will work as a one-way circular route with minimal impact on traffic congestion.
Developers see CQ2 as not just an addition to the existing shopping centre but the re-emergence of Banbury as a leisure destination which will have a positive knock-on effect to the entire town. The existing shopping centre will also see changes as opening hours will be extended to enable late night cinema goers access through the shopping centre.
Mr Murray said: “We’re thrilled that our plans are finally coming to fruition.
“The project represents around £35 million of investment that we strongly believe will make a big difference and deliver substantial benefits, not only to the Castle Quay, but to the whole of Banbury town centre.”
The plans are the beginning of a larger future vision for that area of Banbury which includes the site of the former multi-storey car park on Bolton Road now a temporary car park.
The CQ2 team will be submitting final planning documents by the end of January and hope for full approval from Cherwell District Council later in the spring, following a period of public consultation.
If approved, construction of the project could start in late spring with the grand opening happening in time for Christmas 2018