Westgate Centre's £400m makeover unveiled

Westgate model A model of the design is being displayed at the consultation

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A £400m project to transform a shopping complex in Oxford city centre has been unveiled to the public.

Plans for the Westgate Centre include 70 new shops, a roof-top terrace with views over the city and a basement car park with more than 1,000 spaces.

The Westgate Alliance believes 3,000 jobs could be created. It is submitting a planning application to Oxford City Council in the summer.

An Oxfordshire Green Party spokesman called the plans "excessive".

He added: "We want this council-owned site to include more affordable housing than the current plans.

"Few cities are building this type of shopping mall due to changes in shopping habits. We think it could end up a white elephant and/or impact on other retail offerings within the city.

"Oxford's independent traders would be the worst hit."

'Incredibly exciting'

But the owners have said the new complex will be "one of the leading shopping and entertainment destinations in the UK".

Westgate Centre The Westgate Centre was built in the 1970s

Sara Fuge, development manager, said: 'We want to create an exciting new destination in the heart of Oxford that will attract visitors from across the city and beyond."

And Bob Price, leader of the city council, said: "This is an incredibly exciting project that will transform the retail and leisure experience in Oxford."

The new development will retain the current library and add a 10,000 sq m (32,808 sq ft) John Lewis department store.

About 30 new homes, as well as cafes, restaurants, covered streets, public squares and a cinema have also been proposed.

The current building was constructed in the 1970s. Westgate Alliance wants the new complex to be completed by 2017.

A public exhibition of the proposal is running at the centre until 28 June.

Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to share these proposals with the local community and we hope to get as much feedback as possible."

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