Witney's new development opens
On Thursday 29th October at 10am the first shops at Marriotts Walk open their doors. More shops will follow soon.
Marriotts Walk is in the heart of Witney and an extension to the town centre. Since construction work started in January 2008 people have been watching the development take shape through viewing panels in the hoardings. On Thursday 29th they will walk down Witney’s new mall, Marriotts Walk, for the first time.
First to open at Witney’s exciting new development are M&S, Debenhams, New Look, Wallis, Monsoon, Accessorize and Dorothy Perkins along with Frankie & Benny’s and Café Rouge restaurants, a Cineworld five-screen cinema and a 590 space multi-storey car park. The development also brings 143 new homes, a play park and public conveniences.
The multi-storey car park will be FREE, the same as all council-owned car parks in West Oxfordshire. The District Council believes this is a real draw for shoppers and supports the local economy.
On Friday 30th October, the Rt Hon David Cameron, MP for Witney, is visiting and will unveil a commemorative plaque at 12.45pm.
Cllr Barry Norton, Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council said, “Marriotts Walk is a much-needed addition to the facilities of Witney, helping to catch up with the town’s expansion in recent years, yet successfully preserving Witney’s historic market town centre. The retail and leisure development will provide wider retail choice to complement the existing range of shopping on offer in the town and will add to future economic prosperity of the area. The development will help put Witney firmly on the map as a retail destination and retain a much greater share of shopping spend within the district that is currently lost to larger towns and cities. The restaurants, five-screen cinema and free parking provide additional facilities for residents to enjoy.”
Marriotts Walk is one of only a very few retail and leisure developments opening in the UK this year. It has been developed by Simons Group on the former Marriotts Close and highway depot site in Witney, land owned by West Oxfordshire District Council.
Paul Hodgkinson, Simons Group CEO said, “Times are very challenging for the retail sector, and it’s a huge achievement to have let over 85% of trading space. Retailers have shown great confidence in Witney and we hope to make further announcements in the run up to Christmas.”
It is estimated that over 300 new retail jobs will be created.
Cllr Warwick Robinson, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said, “West Oxfordshire has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, but figures have risen over the past year. The creation of new jobs during this recessionary period is welcome news and helps to keep our local economy buoyant.”
Work on the Marriotts development has tied in with the formation of the Witney Town Forum, a partnership of retailers, service providers and local councils. Forum Members are keen to capitalise on the benefits of the new development and have spearheaded improvements with environmental and marketing initiatives. For example there are now more litter bins through business sponsorship and street furniture and signage is being improved. To coincide with the opening of Marriotts the Forum has produced large town maps, town guides and a new website.
Lesley Semaine, Chair of Witney Town Forum said, “We believe that Marriotts can provide a really positive spin-off for the rest of the town. Witney is a great place to visit with lots of unusual and interesting shops, a great history and it is just getting better.”
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