It has been a busy year for Banbury in terms of development, and three long-standing firms in the town are already looking to the future.
Work to build the new Banbury Gateway Retail Park began in November on the former Prodrive site in Wildmere Road. And while that is being built ahead of its opening in October, work on another anticipated development, the Castle Quay extension, is estimated to also be in the pipeline for later this year.
It will mark a transformation in Banbury’s landscape, and with thousands of homes also expected to be built in the district in the next decade, the town is set to change even more in the next few years.
Banbury Gateway will comprise about 285,000 sq ft of retail space and M&S has signed as anchor on the site, taking 100,000 sq ft of space for a full general merchandise store including food.
Primark is taking 60,000 sq ft and Next has also signed to take 40,000 sq ft for Home and Fashion. Further lettings have been exchanged with River Island, Arcadia, Fat Face, Poundland, McDonalds, Starbucks and Ed’s Diner. The scheme is now 90 per cent pre let.
John Maley, project manager at Banbury Gateway, said work is already progressing well on the site ready to be completed by the end of September. He said: “Things are going really well, we did not have a bad winter and Prodrive have moved everything off the site now so we are working on the second phase of demolition work.
“With regards to the infrastructure of the development we have done most of the service installations, which is taking some time, but the main part of Phase A – which is M&S, Primark, River Island and Arcadia – are fully cladded.”
Mr Maley added that he hopes retailers will be on site by the middle of June to fit out ahead of opening in October.
Castle Quay’s extension is set to bolster Banbury’s town centre after the application was approved by Cherwell District Council last year.
The controversial proposal wanted to demolish the town’s General Foods and Sports Social Club to make way for the extension, but after fierce opposition from GF Club members an agreement was made with Castle Quay owners Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) to keep the club in its current location.
The proposal was approved in a fiery meeting at Cherwell District Council and once completed it will feature a food store, restaurants and various retailers. Work has been going on behind the scenes, and an updated announcement about the scheme could be made in the next few weeks.