ROUGH sleepers are using the doorways of a former Mexican restaurant and family run coffee shop, which remain empty six months after closing.

Chain Mexican restaurant El Mexicana shut its Oxford branch in Gloucester Green in the summer, together with the Combibos Coffee Shop next door.

Sleeping bags and other belongings have been left outside.

Coffee shop owners Combibos claimed in June Gloucester Green landlords were treating the square as an ‘asset portfolio’ rather than encouraging units to be filled.

Owners Rob, Sue, Sam and Martin Hanss said in June: “The city has lost the sparkle it had when we first opened 12 years ago.

“Whether it’s the council making the roads impossible to commute on, the parking so expensive or the ill-thought-out plans of building the Westgate without addressing how tired and unloved the rest of the city is, Oxford is a shadow of the place we all fell in love with.”

The two units, according to the city council, are owned by property company NewRiver. It has not yet responded.

Popular outdoor markets run each week at Gloucester Green on Wednesday and Thursday.

Reviews of El Mexicana on website Trip Advisor this year were mixed.

One anonymous review on the website said: “This small eatery situated in a filthy squalid zone of the downtown bus station is usually empty when we pass by at mid day.

“Flanked on both sides by a poorly maintained environment, the food is standard Mexican fayre.

“It's one of Oxfords few ‘Mexican’ style restaurants. You do not see any office parties here in Sombreros though!"

In 2015, the Oxford Mail’s restaurant reviewer Katherine MacAlister said the restaurant was ‘nice in a DIY canteen sort of way'.

She added: “The staff are friendly and you can eat at the bright tables and chairs framing Gloucester Green or inside in the neon decorated interior.

“It also fills a gap, because apart from Mission Burrito and Las Iguanas we are rather lacking on the old Tex Mex front ever since Old Orleans packed its saddle bags and disappeared into the prairies.”

The El Mexicana chain has about 15 branches across the UK, including those in Swindon, Reading, Romford and Guildford.

The branch’s website said: “We offer both home delivery, takeaway and a lovely restaurant to relax in.

“Offering great value and quality Mexican food just the way you like it. Our range includes Burritos, Tacos, Nachos and salads, with a range of delicious fillings."

Benito’s Hat in the Westgate Centre also serves Mexican food.

The city council last month pledged to ensure winter-long beds were provided for all rough sleepers by next winter.