'Victory' for Botley West Way shop protestors as £100m plans shelved
Campaigners against a £100m shopping centre redevelopment near Oxford are celebrating a "victory" after developers agreed to back down.
Plans for the West Way in Botley would have seen the shopping precinct replaced by a retail and leisure complex plus hundreds of student homes.
Developers Doric Properties have now decided to withdraw an appeal after councillors turned down the plans.
Plans will be submitted later in the year for a smaller development.
The original plans would have demolished shops on Elms Parade, a sheltered housing block at Field House and the vicarage of St Peter and St Paul Church.
In its place would have come a 100-bed hotel, six-screen cinema, 525 student homes and a Baptist church.
Hundreds of campaigners opposed to the development formed a human chain around the site in protest in October.
Vale of White Horse District councillors refused the application in December and Doric withdrew their appeal on Friday.
West Way Community Concern co-chair Chris Church said: "This is a wonderful victory for the people of Botley.
"Two years ago we said we would work to save Elms Parade, Field House and the vicarage.
"Thanks to all the efforts of our community, we have won that campaign.
"It is especially important for people living in Field House and the rest of the threatened area who faced having to leave their homes.
He added the group would make sure any new development "is what Botley wants".
Developers Mace, now leading the project, will submit plans that excludes any redevelopment of Elms Parade, Field House and the vicarage.
Mace development director Huw Griffiths said: "We look forward to working on a replacement scheme that better meets the needs of the Botley community."