TESCO last night denied it was planning to open a store on the site of a closed grocery shop in Headington.

The 24-hour Londis shop in London Road closed its doors in February, when a sign on the door said it had “gone into receivership”.

Rumour has since been rife that it could become a KFC fast-food restaurant or a Tesco Express.

Both companies denied they were looking at the premises.

Tesco spokesman Melanie Chiswell said: “This is not a store we are looking at.”

Headington county councillor Roy Darke said: “There has been a lot of talk about a KFC and then a lot of talk about Tesco, I’m not sure what’s going on. It’s a good location for a 24-hour shop, which is what it has always been.”

Headington city councillor Ruth Wilkinson added: “I think many people will welcome another shop in Headington.”

She added that five premises in the main shopping area were vacant.

And she said: “There is speculation that the premises isn't big enough for a major supermarket store, and I shall be interested to learn what impact any related delivery vehicles will have on traffic in surrounding roads.”

Residents and businesses nearby said they were just as eager for the shop to reopen.

Elaine Bellenger, of the Monaco fashion shop in Old High Street, said: “I’ve still got hope they will open a Costa Coffee there. It would really smarten up that corner.

“It will have to be a big chain, to keep up with the rents. I just want to see something we need there, not another food outlet.”

Neil Holdstock, manager of Absolute Event Solutions, said: “Any empty shop we would like to see filled.”

Patrick Coulter, chairman of Headington Action community group, said: “This is part of an ongoing debate. One group feel the way Headington shops have moved on is okay, with lots of cafés.

“Then there is another group who feel we haven’t got enough butchers and greengrocers, and that the shops are going the wrong way.

“Whatever does eventually go there will thrive if people get behind it. I don’t mind what it becomes, as long as it is open again.”

Londis manager Palmer Singh told the Oxford Mail in November that his business had been hit hard by recent roadworks in the area.

He said: “We have lost around 40 per cent of our business since work began in May.

“I’m just not getting the footfall of people that I used to, and I have had to lose three members of staff.”

He has since been unavailable for comment.

  • Tesco opened two shops in Oxford city centre in August last year, a Tesco Metro in the former Borders booskshop in Magdalen Street, and a Tesco Express in St Aldate’s.

A planning inspector last month upheld a Tesco appeal seeking planning permission to build a store on the site of the former Friar pub in Old Marston. A decision for a similar store at the Fox and Hounds pub in Abingdon Road is expected within weeks.

Tesco has a superstore in Abingdon and recently opened a Tesco Express in the town’s Thornhill Walk, off Wootton Road.

A spokesman let slip that another store could open in the town soon.