Councillor Ian Corkin (Con, Fringford & Heyfords), who is also the district’s portfolio holder for regeneration and economy, attended the official launch of Castle Quay’s waterfront on Saturday.
Crowds of people flocked to see film-inspired exhibits from Batman, Ghostbusters, Harry Potter, Minions and Jurassic Park as part of the festivities to celebrate the town’s new-look development.
But while fun was the buzzword, Cllr Corkin was also keen to address the serious side.
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He cited one of Cherwell’s four key strategies, backing “an enterprising economy with strong and vibrant local centres” through measures such as promoting the region as attractive to visitors, securing investment in town centres, boosting infrastructure and retaining business.
Cllr Corkin said: “I attended the official launch, complete with Batman and dinosaurs. It was an absolutely fantastic day.
“The most pleasurable part of that was looking out at the town centre absolutely buzzing with people.
“That issue of town centres that are regionally important, that will contribute to the economic prosperity of the county and will be exemplars for the pivoting from being a wholly retail town centre offering to one based around experiences, could not have been better demonstrated.
“Our strategy to create strong and vibrant local centres is a work in progress but I think we can put a small tick next to it in relation to what has been going on in Banbury and well done to the team internally. It was quite amazing to see it all come together on Saturday.”
The busy day will be particularly welcome after the council announced more than 10 per cent has been wiped off the net income expected to come from Castle Quay this financial year.
It is estimated £315,000 less than anticipated will come through due to “void costs”, inflation in the cost of utilities and “loss of car park commercial income following delayed openings of the leisure scheme”, although the council’s report noted “an improved forecast against 2021-2022 final outturn which positively reflects the centre’s continued recovery from Covid-19”.