SUPERMARKET chain Morrisons looks set to move to Oxford.

Managers have applied for a licence for a store in Headington.

The firm has made a bid to sell alcohol from 6am to midnight, seven days a week, at the former Blockbuster shop in London Road.

Morrisons has confirmed it is in the “early stages” of planning, but the chain last night refused to reveal any more information about its plans for the site.

Spokesman Kirsty McNaught said: “We’re in the early stages of discussion about bringing a Morrisons M local to Headington.

“We look forward to sharing our plans with the community, as things progress.”

Rumours have been spreading about the company’s potential arrival in the city after it bought 49 of the shops formerly occupied by the movie rental chain.

The plans have sparked a mixed response in the area, with some traders calling for an independent supermarket instead.

Breckon and Breckon sales manager Andrew Topping said: “We already have Waitrose, Londis and a Co-op. An independent food store would have been better.

“It’s going to be just another convenience store, maybe a bit bigger than usual, but I don’t think it will make a difference.”

Paul Birtles, owner of The Garden, a florist in London Road, said: “They wouldn’t be able to compete with us, because we’re a florist and the sort of flowers we sell are going to be very different from what they will sell.

“It wouldn’t worry me. What I would be more worried about is empty shops, and if this means more people are drawn to this area of Headington then it might be a good thing for traders.”

Headington councillor Ruth Wilkinson said: “Lots of people have heard it might be coming, but we have never had any concrete confirmation. It looks a lot more likely now.

“I think it will be beneficial to the area. I’ve had a number of residents coming up to me and asking if it’s coming because they have seen the adverts on the TV about the quality of the produce and they want to use it.

“I think a small store would be useful, particularly for the students in the area.”

Blockbuster went into administration in January, but branches in Headington and Wantage were the only ones in the county to close.

Stores in Bicester, Banbury, Witney, Thame, Wallingford, Didcot and Carterton were bought by restructuring firm Gordon Brothers Europe and remain open as DVD rental outlets.

The only Morrisons store in the county at the moment is in Banbury, with plans for another in Wallingford on the cards.

The chain would not confirm whether or not it had plans for the former Blockbuster shop in Wantage.