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Hotly contested site will be home to sports store
A SPORTS store is to move into a Headington shop previously eyed up by coffee chain Costa and a bookmakers.
Up and Running – facing eviction from 83 London Road – will move into the former Cartridge World store in the street.
The firm, which is a sponsor of next month’s Oxford Half Marathon, said it will relocate to 106 London Road, on the corner of Kennett Road, before the end of the month.
Up and Running and neighbouring Oxford Furniture Warehouse were both given three months’ notice to leave their current London Road premises in September. Its is listed as under offer by agent VSL and there are rumours that a supermarket will be moving on to the site.
But Up and Running’s move along the road to number 106 brings to an end uncertainty about that shop, empty since June 2011 and advertised for £30,000 a year.
Oxford City Council rejected the Costa and William Hill bids to move in over concerns about loss of shop space and impact on the area.
Up and Running store manager Warren Store said: “It’s actually all worked out rather well for us.
“We are hoping we will be able to move into the new property within 48 hours of leaving our current shop which has been our home for at least seven years. It is a positive move for us and we are feeling excited and hopeful about it.”
He said the firm does not need council planning permission as it would remain a shop.
The council threw out the Costa plan – to change its official use to a cafe – in February 2012 over concerns about the loss of a shop.
And William Hill was refused permission this February over the same concerns and the impact on character of the area.
The council said giving William Hill permission would have reduced the number of Headington’s shops below an agreed threshold.
The council’s local plan says at least 65 per cent of Headington units must be retail shops.
Some residents have also raised concerns about moves by major supermarkets to move into London Road.
Morrisons wants to open at the former Blockbuster store, a move that would see it join Waitrose, Co-operative and Iceland.
And Sainsbury’s has plans to move into 98 London Road, currently occupied by Peacocks.
Oxford Furniture Warehouse, faces eviction by December 11.
Owner Chris Green said of her neighbour’s move: “I am pleased for them but we haven’t got the money to do that.”
Other units were proving too expensive to rent, she said, and residents were “going absolutely mad” about more supermarkets.
She said: “We don’t want empty shops taken over by supermarket chains or else it will change the appearance and character of Headington.”
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