PLANS have clicked into place in Bicester to launch a business on the site of failed camera retailer Jessops.

Former Jessops employees Paul Crockett and Robert Peckham, have been given the keys to the Sheep Street shop and will relaunch it under the new name, Imagex, on Friday, March 1.

They put their plans into place soon after Jessops went into administration, in a bid to save their jobs and those of their staff.

But despite being able to secure a deal with administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to take on the shop’s fixtures and fittings for free, they faced a £15,000 bill to transfer the lease from London property agent Prime Retail.

Now, after their plight was highlighted in the Oxford Mail, the charge has been waived.

Mr Peckham said: “Soon after the story appeared in the newspaper we had a call from PwC to make sure the charge was not levied. We have just picked up the keys to the shop and we are delighted. Now it is just a question of getting the shop refitted in time.”

Mr Peckham, 52, and Mr Crockett, 32, were made redundant when Jessops was put into administration on January 9.

But after achieving an annual turnover of £250,000 and a profit of £80,000 in the last financial year, they reckoned the shop could operate successfully on its own, selling camera equipment and printing photographs.

With the support of family, friends and loyal customers, as well as property landlords Mary and Peter Evans and Pat Jenkins, they decided to relaunch.

They also secured a deal with Fuji Minilab to be able to keep the photo processor in the shop.

But they faced the prospect of having to relocate the entire business at their own expense until the lease transfer issue was resolved.

As a result, three of the original four full-time jobs have been saved, along with two part-time positions.

Mr Peckham added: “We know what the business is capable of and what we need to improve to be even more successul.”

  • The Jessops business has been snapped up by a group of buyers that includes Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones. It is not known if the buyers will reopen some of the Jessops stores, including the two in Oxford, as part of the deal.