Cherwell District Council's voted to purchase Banbury’s shopping centre and deliver the town’s new multi-screen cinema and supermarket.
At Monday night’s full council meeting, members agreed to purchase Castle Quay and take over the delivery of the Castle Quay 2 (CQ2) development comprising the cinema, supermarket, restaurants and a hotel as part of the authority’s wider vision to regenerate Banbury.
The council currently owns 15 per cent of the precinct but will become the sole owners when it exchanges contracts with Aberdeen Standard Investments for the outstanding 85 per cent.
Details regarding the purchase of Castle Quay remain confidential at this stage, but the delivery of CQ2 is expected to cost in the region of £60 million.
Cllr Tony Ilott, Cherwell’s lead member for financial management, said: “This is an historic day for Cherwell as it signifies the moment we seal our commitment to regenerating the centre of Banbury, starting with the precinct and CQ2.
“Banbury has been without a town centre supermarket for ten years and has been in desperate need of a multi-screen cinema long before that. With our intervention, we can guarantee that these plans come to fruition and use them to support our wider regeneration plans that will create a thriving town centre that the people of Banbury deserve and can be proud of."
As well as the precinct and CQ2, Cherwell is planning to regenerate Bolton Road, Tramway and canal side to increase the housing, retail and hospitality on offer.
Following the exchange of contracts, Cherwell will be able to proceed with plans to improve the retail offering in Castle Quay by implementing improvements. These will include reviewing the size of the units and maximising the canal side frontage to increase footfall.
The plans for CQ2 will commence next summer when work starts on the new cinema, which will be operated by The Light, and the supermarket, which Lidl will manage on the site of the former Spiceball Leisure Centre. These are due to open in 2020 and will be accompanied by a Premier Inn hotel, six restaurants and a kiosk. Increased parking provision will also be provided for as part of the development.
Cherwell’s decision to purchase Castle Quay and bring forth delivery of CQ2 follows the decision by Aberdeen Standard Investments not proceed with the development following a review of its planned projects.
The council will not use taxpayers’ money to fund the project; instead it will borrow the funds from approved lenders and pay it back through the rental income generated from the two sites.