SHOPPERS have come forward with a wide variety of suggestions on how empty shops in Oxford should be put to good use.

Last week the Oxford Mail revealed there has been an increase in the number of vacant units.

There are now 68 in the city centre and the vacancy rate has risen from eight per cent in September to about 13 per cent.


The city council said it was working hard to get empty units filled but shoppers and residents do not want to wait months for them to be re-let and have suggested alternative measures.

READ AGAIN: Vacant shops in Oxford on the rise - what should happen to them

These included attracting retailers who are not currently operating in the city centre, such as discount stores, and using empty units as pop-up shops or as bases for community initiatives.

After the Oxford Mail asked for readers’ suggestions on Twitter proposals flooded in.


Joanne Carpenter said: “Would love to see more retailers like Wilkinson and B&M in the city centre instead of high-end retail stores that most people do not need.”

READ AGAIN: Oxford city centre in good shape despite empty shops

Willie Watson added: “Encourage them to be used as pop-up shops. Maybe use the windows to display art/craft created by GCSE-plus students in the city’s schools.”

UpThePool said there should be ‘vastly reduced rental costs to encourage new start-ups’.


And Verity Babbs, 21, a student from Banbury, also called for cheaper shops and eateries. She added: “I’d like to see more discount shops in the centre. In terms of supermarkets, the cheaper ones like Aldi and Lidl aren’t in the centre, so it would be nice to have something like that there.

“A cheap bakery like a Greggs would be great too.”

READ MORE: Greggs rule out city centre bakery for now

Ms Babbs added that some empty shops could be used as community-run spaces.

Earlier this year Greggs said it had no plans for the moment to open in the city centre.


One shopper known only as Andrew told “The little side streets need to revert to non-retail use. Gloucester Green is pointless and in the wrong location for destination shopping.

“I might walk through it a dozen times a year, but haven’t bought anything there for a quarter century.”

READ AGAIN: The new Oxford restaurant Jay Rayner says is 'worth saving up for'

Tomorrow a meeting for residents, organised by activists Lucille de Verdiere and Vez Hoper, will take place at Open House in Little Clarendon Street at 6.30pm.


A Facebook post advertising the meeting was inundated with responses.