A LANDLORD who put up a sign warning his pub risked being turned into flats says local people “only have themselves to blame” after developers were told they can build on the site.

Brian Minns placed the sign outside the Cavalier public house, in Copse Lane, Marston, Oxford, three years ago warning: “Pub or flats, your choice – support your local.”

The pub closed in 2008, and Oxford City councillors this week approved a plan to knock down the pub for a yet-to-be-named retail unit and 35 student flats.

Mr Minns, who is now a driving instructor, said: “This is exactly what I told people. It is a prime location for students. This is what will happen to other pubs and clubs. They will all go the same way if people don’t use them. The community only have themselves to blame for this.”

In 2008, he told The Oxford Mail: “If I go, the pub will be closed down and turned into flats.

“If we go, that will be it, so it’s in (local people’s) hands.”

The proposals were passed at the north east area committee on Tuesday night.

New Marston Primary headteacher Zara d’Archambaud urged councillors to reject the scheme over concerns about road safety.

She wrote: “The site is directly opposite the school and will mean a considerable increase in traffic to the area.

“The proposed development will result in an even greater number of cars and delivery lorries coming into an area that is already challenging to keep safe for our children.”

But Oxfordshire County Council, which is responsible for roads, did not object to the plan, which was submitted by developers I and O Limited.

Planning officer Steven Roberts recommended councillors approve the plan, saying pub sales fell “significantly” since 2006.

He said: “While the loss of the pub is regrettable, its loss has been justified and the replacement uses are consistent with the council’s land use policies relating to retail and student accommodation.”

Councillor Van Coulter, who voted to approve the plan, said “there was very little we could do. Any appeal would have been passed with no problems by the planning inspectors.”

The primary school will take 60 pupils instead of 30 this September to meet extra demand for places.

Mr Coulter said: “Councillors were a bit concerned that the county council’s highways authority said you couldn’t take into account the expansion of New Marston Primary School, when the county council themselves were approving the plans.