TALKS will take place in a bid to ensure a picturesque route off Cornmarket does not become Oxford’s ‘forgotten street’.

Ship Street has looked run-down in places after Russell & Bromley shoe shop closed in 2017 and Heroes cafe shut the same year.

Jesus College got permission to move Ladbrokes into the former shoe shop in St Michael’s Mansions in December.

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But the plan was opposed by Jesus College students and the Oxford Civic Society, which said the Central Conservation Area would have been harmed.

Now Mary Clarkson, councillor in charge of culture and city centre, said she would work to ensure that footfall in Ship Street gets a boost.

Oxford Mail:

No. 1 Ship Street restaurant opened in 2017 in the former News Cafe building and has won rave reviews and Matthew Clulee Hair Spa continues to thrive.

Mrs Clarkson said: “It could be time for a restaurant or even a pub to go into the former Russell & Bromley.

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“I don’t want Ship Street to be Oxford’s forgotten street - it’s a gem and is quite quirky.

Oxford Mail:

“Ideally it would be an independent business coming in but it would also have to be large enough to pay the business rates on that big unit - perhaps it could be part of a small chain.”

The councillor said St Michael’s Street on the other side of Cornmarket now seemed much busier than it was five years ago and hoped Ship Street could be given a boost with the arrival of new businesses.

READ MORE: Cafe off Cornmarket closes for revamp

She added that she would now seek talks with private landlords including Oxford colleges to encourage new businesses to come in. Mrs Clarkson said: “There are sensitivities around conservation when it comes to Ship Street so I don’t think something like a Tesco Metro would be quite right for that particular location.

Oxford Mail:

“Part of Ship Street’s charm is that it is not the busiest but we do want to encourage new businesses to fill these empty units.”

Mrs Clarkson said she was saddened by the closure of Heroes as it was a cafe she visited when she was an Oxford undergraduate.

Oxford Mail:

Student Jhanie Fender, 21, said: “The street feels forgotten - Westgate has had a visible effect on Cornmarket. But the restaurant No 1. Ship Street seems to be doing well.”

One reader said the former Heroes cafe was contributing to an ‘air of dereliction’.