A DEVELOPER’S controversial bid to turn three empty shops on the corner of Little Clarendon Street and Walton Street into a restaurant will be decided by city planners tonight.

Shirehall Properties Ltd wants to change the use of the ground-floor shops into a restaurant or cafe.

But the proposals have faced criticism from local residents, who say there are too many restaurants already in the area.

Oxford City Council ward councillor Susanna Pressel said: “We used to have some interesting little shops on that corner.

“And when the site was sold to a developer we managed to preserve the facade, with its wonderful old advertisement.

“We thought the six separate units would be retained on the ground floor, but three of them were promptly turned into a Co-op.

“Now the developer wants to turn the remaining three into a large restaurant. This is very disappointing and I hope the planning committee will refuse permission.’’ Council planning officers have recommended the changes be approved.

In a report to the west area planning committee Matthew Parry said: “The proposed change of use will not have a detrimental effect on the vitality or character of the Little Clarendon Street area, or the wider Jericho Conservation Area.”

It follows five objections, including one from the St John Street Area Residents’ Association which claimed it would “change forever the scale and feel of all retail or other units in the whole of Walton Street.”

A decision will be made by councillors at 6.30pm in the Town Hall, St Aldate’s. The meeting is open to the public.

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