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Milestone for Oxford's new Westgate shopping centre

Artists impression Credit: Oxford city council

Work on Oxford's new £440-million shopping centre has reached a milestone. Construction work has started on the new department store - part of the new Westgate shopping centre.

Today the Westgate Oxford Alliance, John Lewis and local city and county councillors will gather to mark the official launch of development's construction phase.

The 800,000 sq ft development will have a 142,000 sq ft flagship John Lewis as its anchor department store as well as shops, restaurants, cafés and cinema, set in a mix of covered streets, arcades, lanes and squares.

Oxford City Council granted permission for the new development in November 2014. Work on site began earlier this year and is due for completion in time for Christmas 2017.

Artists impression Credit: Oxford City Council


Former BMW worker jailed for defrauding company of £6 million

He turned to crime to fund a lavish lifestyle. Tonight, though, he is behind bars. Accountant Johannes Franken siphoned off almost six million pounds from his employers - BMW Mini at Cowley, in Oxfordshire. He used it to buy luxury cars and a diving school in Mauritius. Divya Kohli reports on how an employee took his car maker bosses for a ride.

Woman found clinging to a life ring rescued from River Thames

A woman found clinging desperately onto a life ring in the River Thames has been rescued.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service say the woman was 'cold and disorientated' when they found her.

They were called to help the woman yesterday morning, who had fallen in near Thames Street in Oxford shortly before.

An ambulance took her to John Radcliffe Hospital for checks, while boats and helicopters continued to search for a man who was also thought to be missing. He was later found safe and well.

The woman was very cold and disorientated when we found her. The life ring had offered her some support until a full rescue could take place.

– Gary Dawson, Watch Manager

Child sexual exploitation raids result in eight arrests

Eight men are being questioned over allegations of child exploitation in Oxford. They were arrested in a series of dawn raids across the city.

More than a hundred officers from Thames Valley Police searched houses at 6 o'clock this morning. The alleged offences are said to have taken place between 1999 and 2007.

The specific addresses have not been disclosed, but police say patrols will continue in Oxford this evening. Kate Bunkall reports.


Eight arrested in child sexual exploitation raids

Eight men have been arrested this morning on suspicion of rape and sexual grooming in Oxford.

The men were taken into custody during dawn raids at eight properties across the city involving more than 100 police officers.

At a press briefing, Detective Superintendent Joe Kidman said the arrests were made as part of Thames Valley Police's Operation Sabaton.

He told journalists at the force's Kidlington headquarters that the men are suspected of offences including rape, sexual grooming and indecent assault.

Their crimes were allegedly committed against girls between 1999 and 2007, he added.

Code of conduct for buskers in Oxford

Harmless entertainment, or a scourge on our streets? That's the question being asked across the Thames Valley tonight, as busking in town centres comes under scrutiny.

Yes, because as more buskers take to the streets, often asking for money from the public, one council in Oxford says enough is enough. They've decided to enforce a code of conduct, meaning that buskers could be fined up to a thousand pounds if they cause a noise nuisance.

The controversy will be debated at a council meeting next month. Cary Johnston takes up the story.

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