TRADERS and shoppers fear the arrival of a Cards Galore shop is the start of an influx of national chains which will increase rents and drive out independent stores from Oxford’s historic Covered Market.
The former Palms delicatessen unit in the Oxford City Council-owned Covered Market remained empty for two years until the council agreed to let it to the national greeting card retailer Cards Galore in December.
But the move has upset traders, councillors and property experts, who says it flies in the face of the market’s leasing strategy against accommodating high street chains.
Traders also fear the financial muscle of national chains will see the rents demanded by the council go up, as another round of lease reviews looms.
Covered Market Traders’ Association secretary Sandie Grifftith said: “The council needs to clarify its policy and tell us whether it is now open house for chains. The Covered Market should not be the place for chains.”
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