WORK has started on a major expansion of an Oxford retail park which will bring dozens of new jobs to the city.

But the development in West Oxford has fuelled speculation over the future of another site in Botley Road.

Dunelm Mill, Hobbycraft and Halfords have been announced as the new stores moving into Botley Road Retail Park in Lamarsh Road.

The development is due to be completed in June and it is believed it will create more than 50 jobs.

But Halfords has another store just a few hundred metres away in Botley Road alongside the old MFI furniture store.

The MFI branch closed after the firm went into administration in 2008 and the unit has remained empty since.

Susanna Pressel, Oxford City Council member for Jericho and Osney, said the firm’s current site would be ideal for housing.

Ms Pressel said if Halfords did move from its current site it would a great opportunity.

She said: “It would be wonderful if it could be for housing.

It should never have been retail in first place and we desperately need the housing.

“That site is in a residential area, close to the city centre, and it’s an extremely popular place for people to live.

“I would be very much in favour of seeing it knocked down and residential.”

The Lamarsh Road development will include 71,800 sq ft of floorspace and work on nine flats and eight houses is almost finished.

David Coates, planning director at developer Kingerlee, said: “We have Dunelm, Halfords and Hobbycraft taking the three units which is a good mix of well known retailers to add to those already established in the area.“ Hobbycraft said it usually employed about 30 people at its stores.

Tony Woodward, joint managing director, said: “We are pleased it brings three popular retailers to the west of Oxford.

“Each of which have performed strongly during the recent years of recession.

“It will considerable add to the already well established retail shops in the area.”

Residents raised traffic and parking concerns when the plans first surfaced in 2006.

But Colin Cook, city council cabinet member for development, said the expansion of the retail park was unlikely to cause traffic problems.

He said the current Halfords site could be turned into housing but he believed it was likely to stay as retail space.

The Lamarsh Road scheme also included flood alleviation work to the street, which residents campaigned for instead of a piece of £29,000 public art in 2010.

A dip in Lamarsh Road was removed in the work last autumn and a flood channel created to take water into adjoining meadows and the Hinksey Stream.

Halfords spokesman Harley Ilott could not confirm what would happen to the chain’s existing Botley Road site.

But he said: “We are moving to a bigger and better store.”