An Oxford community fears for its shopping area's future as fast food chain Subway prepares to open a store there.

Subway has confirmed it will be opening the new outlet in London Road, Headington, on Monday as it feels there is "sufficient demand" for a store in the area.

But residents are worried about the number of food outlets in the area and the lack of diversity in types of shop.

Liz Grosvenor, of Lime Walk, who has lived in the area for the past 16 years, said: "It's not that I object to cafes and food outlets like this, but there are 12 now in Headington.

"I just feel this is rather a lot for the area and you have to wonder if there is really a demand for this many.

"I would be interested to know what the planning officer's views are on this matter, and why so many of these types of outlets are being allowed to come into the area."

Oxford City Council was not consulted over the new store as Subway did not need planning permission as the shop would still be classed as a 'retail' outlet, rather than a food outlet, as Subway claims the majority of the food sold is consumed off-premises.

James Bloice Smith, chairman of the Headington Action Group residents' association, agreed that lack of diversity was a real problem.

He said: "It's the same old story. If people think they can't find enough of the things they want to buy in one place, then they will go somewhere else."

Resident Stephanie Jenkins, who runs the online Headington and Marston neighbourhood forum, said: "The reason that Headington is being swamped with coffee shops is that the law is woolly. The city planners are in an impossible situation."

She added that the confusion arose over the classification of outlets, and that a planning refusal would not stand up in court if contested.

Mrs Jenkins believes the 'Use Classes Order', which allows one business to replace another without planning permission, providing it is like-for-like, is at fault.

She added: "It's not just Headington that is suffering from a Use Classes Order that lacks precision, it is the rest of Oxford and the whole of the country."

A spokesman for Subway said: "The area was identified as an ideal location to open a new store to serve the local businesses, students and residents."

A city council spokesman said it was aware of the issues in Headington and that it would be monitoring the situation.