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A COMMUNITY group was celebrating yesterday after being told it could stay at its base for the immediate future.

East Oxford Community Association’s home at the Cowley Road community centre came under threat last month after it was asked to leave by landlords Oxford City Council.

The council gave the association until yesterday to vacate the centre, at the junction with Princes Street, after concerns were raised over the centre’s management.

Following a demonstration outside the centre, Colin Aldridge, the association’s interim chairman, said the council had “backed down” after talks with association trustees.

But the council is still warning that it wants its Communities and Neighbourhoods Team to take over the running of the centre in the longer term.

Mr Aldridge said: “The council has backed down today. Discussions are ongoing and we still do not know what the outcome will be.

“Hopefully we will be able to work with the council to improve this place. There are some things that need improving. We will be looking internally at what we can do and how we run ourselves.

“If any changes are needed with the help of the council, we can do so.”

Council spokeswoman Louisa Dean said: “The council has sought to remove East Oxford Community Association from the centre as it has determined that the association is not fit to run such a property.

“They are now left with two options – to resist the council’s actions, and we will have to consider formal proceedings, or to agree to the council’s proposals and the council’s Communities and Neighbourhoods team will take over management of the community centre.”

Cowley Road resident Sophie Williams attended the protest to help gather signatures on the community association’s petition.

She said: “This is a valuable, fantastic community centre.”

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