A Sue Ryder shop is to replace an independent Headington hardware store, sparking concern about the number of charity shops in the area.

The care charity is to take over the former Clovers shop in Windmill Road unit, taking the number of charity shops in Headington to eight.

The hardware store shut in September after 30 years in the area as bosses closed branches across Oxfordshire.

Sue Ryder’s arrival means that, along with the Douglas House shop, there are now two charity shops in Windmill Road.

And round the corner in London Road there are another six, raising cash for causes including the British Heart Foundation, Oxfam and Cancer Research UK.

Headington Business’s Elaine Bellinger, who runs clothes shop Monaco in Old High Street, said: “We are losing proper retail shops and have got endless coffee shops, estate agents and charity shops.

“I am in full support of charity shops, but Headington is becoming famous for them.

“I wonder what this place is going to end up like.”

But Katy Faulkner, Sue Ryder’s head of retail business development, said: “Charity shops are essential to the health of local high streets.

“Charity shops often occupy premises that have been empty for a long time, supporting other local businesses by creating footfall.”

She said: “Money raised through our shops and fundraising activities represents an essential source of funds.”

The charity does not need Oxford City Council planning permission to move into the unit as it is approved for shop use.

Council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “Where there is no change in the use of the building the council’s role is very limited and it cannot control individual occupiers.”

Charities shops get 80 per cent off business rates and can apply to the local council to be exempt from all or part of the remaining 20 per cent.

Retail guru Mary Portas, who recently carried out a review into the future of Britain’s high streets, suggested capping the number of properties which can claim such relief.