Enhancing Banbury’s Town Centre with Castle Quay Waterfront shopping centre’s new expansion.

Delivered on behalf Cherwell District Council, McLaren has successfully delivered the new £56.5m commercial, retail and leisure scheme. The new development comprises a restaurant and leisure space, utilising the canal side setting.

The new development will act as a link between neighbouring sites such as the Spiceball Leisure Centre, Chamberlaine Court and Castle Quay shopping centre, improving connectivity within the town centre and ensuring a dynamic evening economy for residents and visitors alike.

The new 506,000sqft Castle Quay Waterfront development includes a 117-bed Premier Inn, ten-screen Light Cinema and 244 new parking spaces. The development also features a new Lidl superstore with a 438-space two-level car park.

Public realm works include associated road works, as well as the installation of a new canal bridge next to the existing shopping centre. The new experiences will enhance the town centre, cementing Banbury as a location that is exciting, vibrant, and accessible for all.

Working on a challenging site split by a canal

The project team have faced and overcome numerous challenges during the construction process.

With the site being split by a canal and the Lidl superstore and 2-storey car park being built on a flood plain adjacent to the river Cherwell. Substation relocation, culverts passing under national gas infrastructure pipelines, contiguous piling within 2 metres of neighbouring properties and S278 works that encircle the site are a few of the construction challenges.

The team worked hard to remain on programme, despite 24% of the project being below ground and involving heavy civil works. This success was due to our committed supply chain and excellent planning.

Our team and supply chain’s commitment provided the springboard to complete the works on time. The Premier Inn have provided great feedback to the Hotel team on the quality of the work and used photos from the site to demonstrate to others the standard that should be achieved.

Connecting the community - A new canal bridge

Public realm works included the installation of a new canal bridge expected to improve ease of access from the site into other areas of the town.

As part of the flood prevention strategy for Castle Quays, a 20m-long, 2.4m wide bridge was removed to accommodate a new Thames Water drainage system. Some of the bridge materials have been recycled by a Banbury-based boatyard and Banbury Museum to create a modern art piece for the public to enjoy.

Inspiring young girls to build careers in construction

During the project, the site team inspired young girls with the exciting and varied careers available in construction. The Banbury 2nd Brownie pack – eight girls aged between seven and ten – visited the construction site and learnt about the building industry, careers in the sector and construction techniques. Following the visit, the Brownies have pioneered a construction skills badge as part of their ‘Skills for my future’ programme.

After a full safety induction, the girls were given instructions on how to dress in full, five-point personal protective equipment before being taken to the construction area on Spiceball Park Road. There, they witnessed the groundworks and piling that will form the foundations for a new retail and leisure complex next to the existing shopping centre.

Commenting on the event, Banbury 2nd Fluffy Owl, Annie Witton said: “It’s been hugely rewarding bringing the girls on to the construction site today. Construction is a fascinating and rewarding industry and our Brownies were able to gain inspiration from the women working on site. They can now understand the importance of health and safety, teamwork and the need for clear thinking to build amazing structures.”

Sharing the festive spirit with residents at Banbury retirement village

​​​In December 2019, residents of Chamberlaine Court retirement apartments enjoyed some festive cheer thanks to our team who stepped in to organise their Christmas lunch. Nine employees from our Castle Quay Waterfront site team joined more than 40 Chamberlaine Court residents for a two-course meal with drinks on Thursday afternoon.

Craig Benham, Project Director at Banbury Castle Quay Waterfront, said: "Building a relationship with the residents at Chamberlaine Court has been so rewarding. It has allowed us to understand the impact we have on the residents and we are proud to work with them so that they are able to feel like a part of the project. They are superb neighbours and show genuine excitement and interest in the plans for Castle Quay.  When we heard that there was no Christmas lunch organised at Chamberlaine Court we felt it would be a great thing do.”

Thelma Jones, a resident at Chamberlaine Court said: "When McLaren approached us to say they would organise a Christmas lunch for us, we were absolutely delighted. We would like to thank the McLaren team for supplying the food and drink – they did an excellent job organising it all for us. It's been a fantastic day and has brought a bit of togetherness and joy to us all at this time of year."