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Deadline on village shop sale looms
TIME is running out for a community’s plan to buy their village shop under new ‘right to buy’ laws.
Wolvercote villagers have until January 23 to make an offer on The Post Box, Godstow Road, before special protected status ends.
Owner Colin Crozier put the freehold on the market at £400,000 but cannot sell it straight away under new laws.
A group of villagers used the Localism Act 2011 to give them six months to find cash to make an offer.
No other offers could be accepted by Mr Crozier until the six months is up on January 23.
But he said the villagers, who have argued that the property is worth less than Mr Crozier’s asking price, had yet to come up with a satisfactory offer.
Neither party would say how much residents have put forward, but it was previously said the figure had reached £237,900 in August, pledged by 174 people.
Their money would be returned from the net income the shop makes.
Mr Crozier said: “I don’t have any objection to selling the shop to them in principle. I have not heard anything from them in months.
“I don’t mind that the sale has been put on hold. It makes no odds to me.
“I have got my idea of what the shop is worth and my opinion is that it is worth more than they say it is,” he added. “If it isn’t, then I am not going to sell it.”
Steve Lunn, a member of the villagers’ steering committee, said the shop was not worth £400,000.
He said: “As a community benefit society we cannot pay more than we believe it to be worth.
“We have to know we are getting a reasonable deal because if things go wrong we can sell it and repay people.
“We will be doing all we can to get our offer up as high as we can and I wouldn’t say we have finished. We are working on whether we can increase our offer.”
He said: “Anyone who wants to buy it and gets advice from a professional valuer will be told what we have been told.
“We can wait until the owner realises they won’t get a better offer.
“I am still optimistic in the long term that we will manage to buy this shop.”
Mr Lunn said the group was not ready to share how much the shop had been valued at independently.
To use the act, villagers had to form a community benefit society and apply for ‘preferred bidder’ status to Oxford City Council.
The council asked villagers to put down how much they would pledge in order to buy the freehold.
For the right to buy laws to come into effect, a property must be first designated an ‘asset of community value’.
Another community group in East Oxford has triggered a six-month moratorium on the sale of the Gladiator Club in Iffley Road.
Christian charity and social club owners the Gladiator Trust wants to sell the site for development and has put it on the market for £1.25m.
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