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A UNIQUE cafe that offers customers the chance to play board games has warned it will not survive if council bosses do not give it permission for its change of use.

The owners of Thirsty Meeples have applied to Oxford City Council for official permission to use the venue as a cafe.

The owners said they were unaware it needed a change of use ahead of opening in Gloucester Green in July.

Customers pay £3.50 for adults or £2 for children and can play as many games as they like from a collection of more than 1,500.

Owner John Morgan told the council: “The business would not survive in its current location on the sale of board games alone.”

Urging the council to approve the application, he said: “We are not against other forms of entertainment like video games.

“But we want to show people all the amazing board games that are out there, and the fun and enjoyment that can be had by joining together to play them.”

He said the business – the only one of its kind in the UK – had a turnover of £32,000 in the first four months with more than 10,000 customers.

Along with hot and cold drinks, snacks are limited to cakes, sweets, nuts, crisps, sandwiches and porridge pots, he said.

Mr Morgan said: “It is difficult to describe our usage as we are doing many things.”

He said: “We chose Oxford as our location because of our love for the city, having been born and raised in Oxford and working in local government here for the past 12 years.”

The business has applied to change its official use from A1 retail to “mixed use shop/café”, known as class A1/A3.

Wife Zusana told the Oxford Mail: “The council said A1 will be fine for us and they are now saying we need to apply for A3”.

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Asked what would happen if permission was refused, she said: “I don’t want to think about it. We will put put more tables in, I am not sure.

“There is nothing like this in the whole country so we couldn’t compare it to anything.”

Tony Brett, a city councillor for Carfax, which includes Gloucester Green, backed the application.

He said: “I entirely support this interesting use of this property and believe it is a valuable addition to the community facilities.”

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