'Community asset' shop taken off the market

The Oxford Times: Alison Morris, Steve Lunn, centre, and Phillip Dove from Wolvercote Community Benefit Society outside the shop Alison Morris, Steve Lunn, centre, and Phillip Dove from Wolvercote Community Benefit Society outside the shop

A shop in Wolvercote has been taken off the market for the foreseeable future.

The Post Box in Godstow Road was for sale and a community group had attempted to buy it to make sure it was saved.

But after the group was unable to reach a deal with owner Colin Crozier, the general store went back on the open market.

Mr Crozier, who lives in Kidlington, said: “I have taken it off the market because there has been a change of plan.

“We have had offers for it but there is more involved than just the price that I didn’t realise at the time.

“If we got an offer for the shop we would consider selling it but it has to be the right offer at the right time. If the circumstances were right and they came up with an offer I would have no objection to selling it to the community group.”

Last year the shop was put up for sale but was also registered as an asset of community value by Oxford City Council.

This triggered a six-month moratorium period during which the shop could not be sold, allowing the Wolvercote Community Benefit Society to raise the necessary funds.

More than 100 residents expressed an interest in purchasing shares, as did businesses which supply the shop.

The community group made several offers but Mr Crozier rejected them as they were too low.

Steve Lunn, a member of the community group, said: “We offered what our valuers tell us is the right price and he thinks it is not enough. At the moment we are going through a consultation exercise with our potential investors. We are asking them whether they are happy to leave it at this or increase our offer.

“It is probably fair to say that although we have not succeded in buying the shop we have succeeded in making sure it remains a shop into the foreseeable future.”

While the moratorium on the site has now ended, the shop will remain a community asset until January 23, 2015.

Mr Lunn said if the shop is ever put back on the market the community asset process can be done again.

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