It has been a long time since I felt inspired to spill my thoughts out onto a blank page and share them with you all. However, today I was utterly inspired!
An 11am meeting at the Marketing Suite of the Westgate Shopping Centre and the ever-so-enthusiastic Tracey Mills of Davis Coffer Lyons, who are responsible for the development and leasing of the new Westgate Centre, who is held totally responsible.
The first thing that struck me was the size of the development, which I was totally unprepared for. There will be three levels of top quality shopping and eateries, which will really shake things up for the better in what has become, basically, a pretty sad shopping centre here in Oxford.
Then things got even better. The reason I had this meeting in the first place was because I wrote to the developers when I heard a Chinese whisper about them purchasing the Castle Quarter complex too. As it happens this was completed only this Monday and so what I felt so passionately about, i.e. how could something so beautiful be left to just basically fail, will now be injected with cash and the foresight of an already successful company, that it has so desperately needed. I know it will work because people like Max Mason and The Big Bang were successful there despite this!
After living in London where you were spoilt for choice in terms of shopping and food it meant that coming back to Oxford was an eye opener. We live in such a beautiful city and have the potential of over a million visitors staying overnight – where do they eat? I hear it all the time, very little consistency in terms of eateries, people struggling to recommend somewhere to friends. Why has it dug its heels in for so long and not changed? Well this will make things happen! Just wait and see/hear what is coming to Oxford. There will be no compromise now, if businesses want to survive they will have to step up to the mark and be customer focused and consistent.
After putting my initial post up on facebook about this meeting, a friend immediately posted – what about the locals, the covered market, our independents? Fear not those independents who work so hard to be better than the average chain restaurant/shop and appeal to those who farm at farmer’s markets, want to shop local, eat seasonal and locally sourced food. With the vast car parking facility, improved road links by the time this venture opens next year it can only be a positive thing in that it will bring people back into Oxford. The bench mark has been risen and those of who have been trying to attain this will now be able to relax and enjoy someone else out there helping us on a scale previously unobtainable!
Change is positive and essential for our beautiful medieval city that has struggled in the past to achieve this. I personally wanted to share this with you because I feel this can only bring the right type of change and it made me feel incredibly positive today about what is to come. That can’t be a bad thing in any ones books!