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Tesco Express rises from the ashes of fire-wrecked pub
Tesco staff watch David Cairns, front, second from left, from Oxford Food Bank, William Rankin and Margaret Rankin open the new store
FIVE years ago the derelict Fox & Hounds pub on the corner of Abingdon Road, Oxford, was destroyed by fire.
But this weekend, a new Tesco Express store rose from the ashes and finally opened for business after work was delayed by the recent flooding.
David Cairns and Robin Aitken, founders of Oxford Foodbank, declared the store open as it was announced the shop will donate £500 to the food bank.
Mr Cairns said: “That £500 is very gratefully received. We raise all of our own funds, so that will go a long way.”
While the store has donated money, there has been no agreement on the donation of unsold fresh food.
Mr Aitken said: “We don’t have a deal to do with food collection with the store yet. But we will be in contact in the future to see if they want to help.”
As well as the new store, there are four flats above it and a cash machine and customer parking at the front.
Since the Fox & Hounds pub closed in 2007, and was damaged by a fire in 2009, some residents have been eager to see the site in use.
William Rankin led a campaign for Tesco to be granted planning permission, and was invited to the opening.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted, and very much looking forward to using the shop. So many people have told me how pleased they are, and what a lovely building it is. It’s not ugly. It really fits in with the area.”
The 64-year-old, who lives on Chatham Road, said: “We have needed this. This area is starved of variety and choice when it comes to amenities. “ But Mohammad Afzal, who owns the NISA shop nearby in Abingdon Road, led a campaign against the new Tesco.
He said: “They have won, they are here. I just have to respect their business and they will have to respect mine, but I do have concerns.”
The 75-year-old added: “I may have to reduce my staff if I do too badly. But this shop has been here since the Second World War so I hope people will be loyal and still use us. I stayed open during the flooding so people could get their lunches. They should remember that.”
- SHOPPERS found more choice in Headington last week with the official opening of the UK’s 600th Sainsbury’s Local. The new store on London Road was the fifth Sainsbury’s convenience store to open in Oxford. John Coyle, from the nearby Windmill Fairtrade store, cut the ribbon at 9am in front of shoppers and Sainsbury’s staff.
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