MUSIC-lovers at Oxford city centre's last independent dedicated gig venue are celebrating – and planning a major renovation – after landlords agreed to grant it a new lease.

The Cellar, in Frewin Court, off Cornmarket, was left facing closure when its owners, an Oxford church charity, revealed plans to to convert the basement club to give potential tenants of the shop above more storage space.

The store had been occupied by cosmetics company Lush, but is now vacant following the trader's move to the new Westgate.

A campaign to fight the plans by St Michael's and All Saints' Charities attracted just under 14,000 signatures – with 5,000 people backing the campaign less than a day after the Oxford Mail broke the story about the club's possible closure.

A planning application to change the use of the site was withdrawn by the charity last month. Now the club has been informed by its solicitors Royds Withy King, that the landlord has withdrawn its objection to the granting of a new lease. It is hoped a new lease could be signed early in the new year – assuring the future of the club, and allowing much-needed refurbishment to go ahead.

Venue manager Tim Hopkins said: "Negotiation of the new lease terms can now commence in earnest.

"This is the news we have been waiting for and I look forward to booking up 2018 with confidence.

"The outpouring of public support has re-galvanised my ambitions for the venue, and I'm really excited to see what the future at The Cellar holds for all of us.

"I can now do some of the planned renovation work that was recently put on hold over this uncertain period.

"We are looking to invest in the lighting, sound system, floor, branding, and bars.

"With Christmas just around the corner, getting this good news now is probably the best present Oxford could have hoped for. We can definitely celebrate this festive period in the knowledge that one of Oxford's most important creative and alternate spaces has a future.

"A massive thank you to everyone who showed their support."

The venue, previously known as The Dolly before becoming The Cellar, has played host to breakthrough local bands like Foals, Stornoway and The Young Knives. Earlier this month it celebrated its 18th birthday.

St Michael's and All Saints' Charities has been approached for a comment.