Two vacant units in Abingdon town centre could be converted into flats if a planning application is approved.

The first premises, at 22 Stert Street, was previously made up of a ground floor retail unit, The Nursery Shop, with flats on the first and second floors.

The second space, located at 20 Queen Street, formerly housed Hedges Butchers on the ground floor and a gym on the first floor.

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The planning application would see renovation and refurbishment work to restore the ground floor retail unit fronting Stert Street, with the remainder of the two properties being altered and adapted to provide six one bed flats, one two bed flat and two three bed flats.

The site is within the Abingdon Town Centre Conservation Area and Abingdon Air Quality Management Area.

Councillor Helen Pighills, cabinet member for healthy communities at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “The retail unit that faces onto Stert Street is a listed building, so it would be nice to see that refurbished.

“Refurbishing the retail unit would hopefully attract new residents too, seeing as a lot of the retail units in the town centre have flats above them where people live happily.

“It’s a very sustainable area to live, there’s lots of cafes, pubs and restaurants, access to green space and we have EV chargers in that area too, so it’s well set up for any potential new householders.

“More people coming to the town will increase the vitality of the area, and if the plans mean an old building can be maintained then that’s wonderful.

“Likewise, if it enables the retail unit on the ground floor to continue then that’s good, it’s better than having vacant spaces in town.”

However, some members of the public in Abingdon believe the town needs more shops, and less flats.

Tracey Collett, a householder in Abingdon, said: “We don’t need more flats.

“Abingdon has become nothing but hairdressers and coffee shops, it used to be a good place to shop back in the day, it was always full of local people shopping.”

Sharon Howse, another householder, added: “We need better shops to encourage people to shop in the town again.

A third householder, Carlo Grimaldi, said: “No more flats. Thousands of people have already moved into Abingdon’s new developments and there is no infrastructure.

“Doctor’s surgeries are not taking on new patients. The traffic is monumental. Roads are in a dysfunctional state. Shops are closed. Schools are full.”

Another member of the public, Leigh Goodwin, agreed: “Abingdon doesn’t need flats, it needs more infrastructure; decent shops, more businesses, better tourism, another school, dentists and doctors.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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