DIY giant B&Q is set to open its only shop in Oxford, stepping into the space recently vacated by a rival.

The home improvement retailer wants to open up in the old Homebase store in Seacourt Retail Park off the Botley Road, according to planning documents.

It comes six months after Marks & Spencer scrapped its plans to open on the site, leaving a hole in the newly revamped shopping park.

David Kay, chairman of North Hinksey Parish Council, said the plans are likely to be discussed at a meeting next week.

He said: "Personally I have got nothing against the idea.

"I thought it was a bad idea to open a food shop there because it would not have been good for the new development at the West Way, which has food shops in it.

"Something like B&Q makes much more sense than another food place.

"I think a lot of people wanted Homebase to stay so getting a new DIY shop will be beneficial."

Homebase moved out of Seacourt in mid-December, part of a raft of store closures nationwide.

M&S had announced it no longer wanted to open last summer and there were fears the unit would be empty for a lengthy amount of time.

But B&Q appears to believe a DIY shop in that location is still viable, adding to its existing presence in Abingdon and Witney.

According to the documents, which have been lodged with Vale of White Horse District Council by site owners BAPT Limited, a new entrance lobby will be built, allowing access from the new car park built next to the Costa Coffee drive-through.

A two storey office will be built inside the unit and free-standing canopies will be constructed above the existing garden centre at the back and adjacent service yard.

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Originally, the large unit vacated by Homebase was going to be split into five separate shops, one of which was going to be filled by M&S.

But now the single larger unit will be maintained and upgraded with minimal alterations to bring it in line with the look of neighbouring shops including Decathlon, Sports Direct and Dreams.

Botley county councillor Emily Smith said: "I am pleased there is a retailer moving in.

"There was a worry we would end up with an empty shop for some time.

"I think when Homebase shut it was part of a national strategy, rather than specific concerns about the location as such.

"If B&Q has decided to move in then clearly they think it is viable and they must have anticipated a demand for this kind of thing.

"I think it will be useful for a lot of people, they will find it very handy to be able to do their shopping locally."

Last year both Toys 'R' Us and Maplin shut their shops in neighbouring retail parks in west Oxford and these have still not been replaced.

At the time fears were raised the city had reached saturation point for shops after the Westgate's opening.

**This article was amended on March 5 to make it clear that although this will be B&Q's only Oxford store, the retailer did have a shop in Cowley previously and therefore will not be the first. Thank you to the readers who pointed this out. We are happy to clarify.**