by David Tompkins, Principal of David Tompkins Estate Agents, Botley
I have recently enjoyed a short stay in a most beautiful hotel. This hotel had the dubious accolade for being the most haunted hotel in Britain. Suffice to say I came across no ghost during my weekend.
On returning to work in my Estate Agents office in West Way Shopping Centre it did remind me of a Ghost Town/Suburb. Wikipedia’s interpretation of a Ghost Town is a town that has been abandoned. I take the view that the Vale of White Horse District Council have already “abandoned” the shopping centre and have let down the local residents of Botley.
Having plied my trade in Estate Agency in the precinct since the heady days of Adkin in 1981 and independently since 1998 I feel that I am very much in the front line in hearing the concerns of not only my fellow business colleagues but also those of the Botley Community.
With units closing down for one reason or another, in what seems to be on a regular basis, it is a case of who shall be next? The precinct is fraught with Chinese whispers.
From the many people that I speak to on a daily basis they all agree that the precinct needs a major overhaul. I don’t think I have spoken to one person who is in favour of student accommodation.
In my Estate Agency days back in the 1980’s we would sell many properties to parents who were looking to buy for their son or daughter coming to Oxford to study. This does not happen anymore as students want to be in the City Centre and look upon Botley as being “too far out” to reside.
Such newly built student accommodation would in my view become a white elephant.
I also feel that there is no need for a hotel. Many of the colleges in Oxford go over to accepting tourists during the summer months by offering bed and breakfast accommodation in the vacant student rooms. Imagine American tourists being offered a room with a view overlooking Christchurch Meadow or a room with a view in a high rise building overlooking the A34 by-pass. This is a no brainer.
Botley is a lovely area to live and work and we all want it to continue that way. What we need is the right balance and blend of units. You cannot please everybody all the time but I feel that the Vale of White Horse District Council have already made their decision.
Please do not abandon us yet!