Work on Bicester’s town centre redevelopment is nearing completion ahead of the scheme’s grand opening this summer.
The eagerly-awaited development will bring a new Sainsbury’s foodstore, a seven-screen Vue cinema, a new shopping street, and a 500-space multi-storey car park to Bicester town centre.
Since the steel framework went up last July, crews have been building the new car park and cladding the shell of the development in brick, stone and glass.
Workers are now laying flooring, creating internal partitions and fitting heating, lighting and electrics ahead of the opening due for September.
Paul Tyler, Sainsbury’s project manager, said: “We are now entering a really exciting phase of the redevelopment project and hopefully local people and visitors to the town centre can see how much work has been put in by our team since we started.”
He said recruitment has now started at the new Sainsbury’s foodstore, with around 300 full and part-time positions available.
The new Vue cinema will be fully sound-proofed from the multi-storey car park above, and will have more than 850 seats.
Two of the cinema’s seven screens will be able to show films in 3D, and it is hoped the cinema will host events including concerts, sporting fixtures, comedy, opera and ballet.
Tim Richards, chief executive of Vue Entertainment, said he expected the new cinema to be a massive hit with local people.
The new cinema will be able to screen films 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, the bar will shut at 2.30am, and cinema-goers will be limited to two alcoholic drinks per ticket.
Spiral car park access ramps have now been built, and the surface of the multi-storey car park has been laid.
The car park includes spaces for disabled shoppers and for parents visiting the town centre with children. Lifts and travellators will take shoppers to and from the main store.
The car park will have real-time information screens showing the total number of available spaces on each of the two parking levels.
The lower level will also have a lighting system above each parking space so shoppers can spot free spaces.
Cherwell District Council leader, Councillor Barry Wood, said: “I think this development is going to amaze local people.
“Bicester has been crying out for an improved shopping offer and a multi-screen cinema.
“Cherwell District Council and its development partners will be delivering that for them this summer.”