Second DIY outlet threatens Witney Focus DIY

Published:  21 April, 2011

OXFORD: West Oxfordshire District Council has approved plans to build a new DIY retail outlet in Witney. Witney Town Council objected to the Station Lane plan. Under the plan, Station Lane garage and neighbouring Adenbourne Fieldsports, opposite Sainsbury's, are to be demolished for a 3000sq ft retail unit.

Cameron Lee, manager of Witney's Focus DIY store, says: "We don't believe there is a need or demand for a second DIY store in the town. If the application is approved, it could force us to close."

Councillor Brenda Churchill said: "The town council has great concerns about traffic problems on Station Lane, which this application will make worse. But Oxfordshire County Council, responsible for roads, says it would have an "insignificant effect on traffic flows".

Nicky Brock, of applicants Leda, said: "Despite the Focus store, there is a large amount of leakage for DIY stores. "Government policy supports development which promote consumer choice."

Customers would often travel from Witney to Abingdon or Swindon to visit larger DIY stores and concerns it would set a precedent for out-of-town stores were not valid, she says.

A planning officer recommended the council's lowland area planning subcommittee approve the plan.

Councillor Richard Langridge says: "I think it will be hopefully very good for Witney's economy and it will improve the area."

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