The Westgate Centre, currently under renovation, is to have a large rooftop space from which visitors will be able to enjoy views across Oxford’s famous rooftops.
The original shopping centre, built in the 1970s, had no such rooftop area and a number of shops. But the new building will contain 100 stores, 25 restaurants and cafes and public spaces in which developers expect public performances and art displays to take place.
Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said “the Westgate is going to be more than just a shopping centre, so this will be really significant to the development of this quarter of the city. It could be an exciting area for performances and art, as well as a great public space – which is something we need more of.”
The plans feature a grass “quad” with retractable roof, which could be used for performances, if plans are approved. The £440m Westgate project is part of a wider development of the west of Oxford, which also includes development of the Park End Street area and closure of nightclubs.
The completion of the shopping centre may help to allay concerns over the balance of shops and restaurants in central Oxford, which led to concern from Graham Jones of traders’ group Rox in July.
“There is feeling that perhaps there are enough restaurants and cafes in the city at the moment – maybe we have reached the limit for them all to be viable,” he said.