FEARS have been voiced that a “supermarket war” will close Cowley Road’s last post office and signal the death knell for independent trade in the street.

Last month, it emerged Sainsbury’s wantsto open two new stores in East Oxford after the supermarket giant confirmed it would be taking over Blockbusters and opening its first store in Cowley Road.

The shop is less than half a mile from a new Sainsbury’s Local store which opens at the Plain roundabout on Friday, and near a large Tesco Metro.

East Oxford traders and residents believe a price war between the two firms will kill off other shops in the area, including Costcutters in Cowley Road which now houses the post office.

Rana Lally, who took over the lease of Costcutters six months ago, said he does not expect to be able to survive very long.

Mr Lally, 53, said: “If Sainsbury’s opens up either side of me I do not think there will be a post office on the Cowley Road for very long.

“I would give it a go as long as I could but if the shop trade deteriorated I do not think it will be a viable business for anybody.

“I do feel an obligation to stay open for the community but I am on the breadline as it is.

“The supermarkets seem to be at war with each other and it’s the poor small independents who are going to get crushed in the stampede. This will completely kill off the diversity of the Cowley Road.”

The fears comes one month after the New Economics Foundation think tank labelled Oxford a clone town with less individuality than Watford and Woking.

Pensioner Barbara Tucker, who has lived in East Oxford for 26 years, said: “The facilities that service East Oxford, particularly for the elderly and young families, are being taken away.

“I suspect most people would be horrified that Sainsbury’s is coming here, not because it is Sainsbury’s, but because it will send away people that use a facilitiy that is vital to them.

“We would rather have different things in the Cowley Road.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We open our convenience stores where we have identified a need, and Cowley Road is the ideal location given its diverse and vibrant mix of specialist local shops and businesses, which our store will complement. “Our Local stores often help attract shoppers to local parades and this increased footfall is to the benefit of other traders.

“We are looking forward to being part of this busy local parade.”

But Erica Steinhauer, who owns the costume and sweet shop Bead Games, said: “This is worse than I’d feared in my worst nightmares.

“If Sainsbury’s come here and have a price war with Tesco they’ll kill us off."