When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Villagers mount bid to buy village shop
WOLVERCOTE residents are hoping to buy their village shop after it was put up for sale.
The owner, Colin Crozier, has put the freehold of Post Box, in Godstow Road, on the market at £400,000.
Members of the Village Shop Project have successfully registered the shop as an asset of community value – one of three in Oxfordshire – and have also applied to the Financial Conduct Authority to set up the Wolvercote Community Benefit Society.
The benefit society hopes to sell shares to raise the money to purchase the freehold.
The group said recently it has already submitted an offer but that this had been refused by Mr Crozier, who lives in Kidlington.
A member of the group’s steering committee, Rosamund Road resident Steve Lunn, said: “We are committed to paying a fair price, and indeed have to do so. If we pay more than the site is really worth, and things go wrong down the track, our only way of returning members’ investments would be to sell up.
“The city council’s views on change of use suggest that development for residential use is a non-starter for the foreseeable future. We are confident that eventually the owners and their family will realise that we are offering a fair price.”
If an asset is registered as being of “community value”, communities have the right to bid for it. Once the community benefit society is established, the group will apply to the city to become a ‘preferred bidder’ under the Community Right to Buy provisions in the Localism Act 2011.
Should the local community wish to make an offer a six-month moratorium period will be granted to allow funding to be found.
More than 100 residents have expressed an early interest in purchasing shares, as have businesses which supply the shop.
In a report giving reasons for designating the shop an asset of community value, Michael Crofton Briggs, Oxford City Council’s head of development, said: “The Post Box has an important community function.
“It is somewhere that daily essentials can be bought locally. Having a service such as this locally means that people are more likely to interact with others from the area, helping to ensure a cohesive community.”
Mr Crozier, whose family has owned the shop since it was built in the 1930s, said: “My grandmother worked at the mill for many years, several members of my family have been landlords of The Red Lion and some have worked in the shop, so I don’t think anyone has done more for community spirit or served the village of Wolvercote more than my family.
“At the end of the day my sole intention is to do the best for my children and grandchildren.”
Comments are closed on this article.