The news that Gloucester Green coffee shop Combibos Coffee is closing demonstrates only the most recent example of the lack of support Oxford City and Oxfordshire County Councils have been for local businesses, and the hugely detrimental impact the Westgate has had.
On their Facebook page, Combibos say 'The city has lost the sparkle it had when we first opened 12 years ago', citing many of the council-inflicted issues there have been in the city, including roads, parking, and the Westgate Shopping Centre'.
Expanding on some of the issues, Combibos Coffee said:
"Whether it's the council making the roads impossible to commute on, the parking so expensive or the ill thought out plans of building the Westgate without addressing how tired and unloved the rest of the city is, Oxford is a shadow of the place we all fell in love with.
"There is no doubt the Westgate development has sucked the the footfall from our side of town since it opened. This coupled with the fact that business rates have become extortionate without the City Council giving anything back and the Gloucester Green landlords treating the whole area as part of an asset portfolio instead of encouraging units to be filled and proactively improve the square have driven visitors away."
Conor McKenzie, a City Centre campaigner and the Liberal Democrat candidate for Carfax ward, said:
"The Westgate has sucked the soul out of Central Oxford, moving it away from independent shops and killing local businesses all part of cosying up to very wealthy national corporations and developers. At the same time, the City Council are also hiking up local business rates, squeezing out local traders.
"The hypocrisy and complacency of the ruling Labour Group on the City Council is truly saddening; it is slowly but surely causing Oxford's unique character to crumble."