When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Posters joker hopes spoofs will get empty shops open
Buy this photo » Preston Likely with his Dracula poster on an empty shop on the corner of Bullingdon Road and Hurst Street, East Oxford. Picture: OX62567 Antony Moore
WHEN a poster announcing the arrival of a sex shop appeared on an empty store in Rose Hill in Oxford it upset traders.
But the notice on the former Blockbuster shop that says “If you are good with people, and don’t object to handling stimulating material, then please apply for a position”, is the work of serial prankster Preston Likely.
The 42-year-old artist, from Littlemore, has also put up notices on empty shops in East Oxford, including one in Magdalen Road that says ‘Why does everybody ignore me?
‘In my prime I was such an attractive shop. Please help me to relive my youth.’ Mr Likely said: “I am trying to make a serious point by sticking posters on to empty shops.
“The idea of sticking fictitious posters on the front of empty shops is to draw people’s attention to such eyesores.
“I think councils and landlords need to discuss the issue of long-term empty shops in order to turn them into more positive-looking landmarks.
“Run-down empty shops can have such a negative impact on communities.
“I don’t really have an answer myself as to what needs to be done in order to resurrect these ‘dead spots’, as I like to call them.
“Perhaps landlords could lease them out to community groups, at a minimum rate, in order for them to be occupied.
“Or maybe artists could occupy them as studio spaces until they become shops again.
“I think they just need to be occupied rather than standing empty, like hollow ruins.”
Mr Likely added: “My eye was drawn to certain vacant shops in Oxford, having recently visited Hull, where some areas are thoroughly blighted by large numbers of closed-down shops and stores.
“Luckily, Oxford doesn’t have the same problem as the likes of Hull, but who’s to say what the future may bring?”
But Mohammed Abdul Haque of Cafe Spice, which is next door to the former Blockbuster shop in the Rose Hill shopping parade, said: “I think this sort of joke is unacceptable. It certainly put us under pressure.
“We are a restaurant and people come in with their family for a meal. They don’t want an adult shop next door.”
Ed Turner, a Rose Hill city councillor and deputy leader, said: “It was quite a good joke. Quite a few people did contact me to express their concern about an adult shop opening.”
He added: “We all want empty shops to be open.
“Rose Hill parade is owned by a London company and it does have some vacancies.
“As a council we are doing what we can.
“For example, there is CCTV going up to make people feel safer. It is an important shopping parade and we want it to prosper.”
Comments are closed on this article.