When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Tesco is forced to move its fence at Marston
RESIDENTS have scored a victory over supermarket giant Tesco.
The company had blocked off a public path and a piece of green space when it put up a fence around the former Friar pub in Marston Road, Marston, Oxford, last week.
But now the fence has been taken down after local residents fought the latest round in their ongoing dispute against Tesco’s development plans.
Crotch Crescent resident Eric Perkins said: “We are only residents representing ourselves, but our councillors have been very helpful.
“The greatest feeling was seeing people walking along that footpath like they have done for years. If nothing had been done it would have been easy for that area to be fenced off for the next three years.”
Since 2008, Tesco has been planning to turn the old Friar pub on the corner of Marston Road and Old Marston Road into a supermarket, despite local opposition.
The company bought the site from restaurateur Clinton Pugh after he failed to develop the site into a cafe and flats.
Planning permission for the Tesco Express store was refused by Oxford City Council, but in 2011 it was approved on appeal.
This sparked concerns about the future of the green space in front of the pub, with fears that Tesco would cut down the trees there. The company, however, pledged to save the trees.
Since then the former pub has been sitting empty, with work yet to start.
A number of Marston residents attempted to gain ownership of the land outside the pub via a common law process called ‘adverse possession’, where members of the public can take physical control over land with the aim of owning it.
Roger Baycock, who runs saxophone shop Allegro Oxford opposite the site, was one of those.
He said: “It is thanks to the vigilance and action of local residents and the intervention of Councillor Roy Darke and the local press that the mistake by Tesco has been thwarted.”
Tesco spokesman Simon Petar said: “Having been made aware that we had gone slightly over our boundaries we moved the fence back to ensure there was no problem.”