A £60million plan to regenerate the ‘tired’ shopping centre in the heart of Cowley has been given a seal of approval.
Oxford City Council has approved the owners NewRiver’s plans for Templars Square in a ‘once in a lifetime investment’.
The regeneration of the shopping centre and site is set to include a new hotel, new restaurant units, new housing, improved streetscape and pedestrian routes, and upgraded car parking.
Jamie Whitfield, director of commercial development at NewRiver, said: “We have been working alongside the council and the local residents over two years.
“As a long-term investor in the town, we look forward to introducing new restaurants, homes, a hotel, jobs to the area and revitalising the tired entrances and public realm.
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the local communities as we move toward the delivery phase of this exciting step for Cowley’s future.”
Existing shops will be preserved through the plans, which will also create 60 new jobs and 300 construction jobs.
NewRiver, which worked in collaboration with Corstorphine & Wright Architects, submitted the plans in November 2016.
On July 4, a spokesperson from Oxford Preservation Trust said: “OPT encourages the council to do more to secure ways of minimising the harm by securing improvements in the design and use of materials.”
They added: “If this tall building is to be seen, then what it looks like is of critical importance.”
In January, the plans received 80.1 per cent approval in public meetings hosted for residents and businesses.
Of 227 responders who were asked whether they supported the proposals, a total of 144 people said yes, 36 were unsure, 34 said no, and 13 did not express an opinion.
In the same month, Oxford Civic Society recommended that the application be refused, due to lack of affordable homes and the creation of a new tower block which would impact the character of the area.