OXFORD City Council’s Colin Cook trots out a standard defence when he says there is no evidence the permission his authority gave to build at St Clement’s car park is related to the closure of a charity book shop.

But one thing is for sure: the reduction from 120 to 37 spaces can’t have helped.

Certainly Sobell House hospice chief executive Diane Gardner thinks its branch in The Plain has been hit by the closure and other businesses have reported a slide in profits.

Mr Cook instead suggested it had run into problems because “the books were too dear”. Let’s hope he’s right. If he’s not, we await his reasons for the failure of more businesses in that part of the city.