INDEPENDENT traders in Headington have hit out at plans for a Costa Coffee shop.

The chain has applied to change the use of the former Cartridge World shop in London Road, opposite a Starbucks coffee shop.

But while Headington residents would be spoilt for choice, with seven coffee outlets in the area already, existing traders have voiced concern.

Souad Elbarhdadi has run La Croissanterie Café in Old High Street for 19 years. She said: “They’re a big company and we’re just a small business.

“We work very hard and give people good quality and service but if Costa opens it will affect us.

“So many coffee shops are closing. It’s a big battle.”

The shop Costa wants to take over has been empty for the past six months since Cartridge World closed.

As well as applying to change the use of the premises from retail to both retail and a cafe, Costa wants to install a new shop front and an illuminated sign.

If approved, it would become the sixth Costa branch in the city – along with two Costa kiosks in petrol stations – while Starbucks has five branches across Oxford.

Mo Garni, of Mojo’s Cafe and Sandwich Bar, in London Road, said: “It’s a bit more competition and it will hit everybody in the area.”

Last week it emerged Costa was planning to move into a former music shop in Wallingford, making it the first national coffee chain to open in the town.

But Johnny Pugsley, of delicatessen Jacobs and Field in Old High Street, said: “It was inevitable. Starbucks and Costa tend to follow each other.

“I think we’re a totally different ball game. We serve more traditional coffee and I’m confident we can keep going.

“People come here because they like the coffee. I think it will affect Starbucks more.”

No-one was available for comment from Costa Coffee last night.

Oxford City Council is considering the planning application but a date for a decision has yet to be set.