Vodafone mobile phone shop ‘to close’ in town centre

Vodafone has been trading in the town’s Bury Street precinct for several years.

But staff at the shop unit selling mobile phones and accessories said today (Tuesday, April 23) that it is to close.

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“We are closing but I can’t give you a date,” a member of staff said.

Oxford Mail: Vodafone in AbingdonThe closure, which is expected to take place next month, follows the closure of Clarks shoe shop yesterday, which had served customers for at least 20 years.

A woman from Australia visiting the town to see her family said it looked like the precinct “was dying”.

Popular footwear chain Clarks closed in Abingdon without much notice and customers today were surprised to see it shut for good.

Abingdon’s Bury Street precinct was given a £4.5m facelift in 2012.

New large units were built and Superdrug and New Look now have spacious stores.

But the big names like Marks & Spencer and Next never arrived, and there are still a number of empty units including a large unit previously occupied by the Peacocks discount clothing brand.

Oxford Mail: Vodafone in AbingdonIn 2012 developer NewRiver removed the 1960s arcade’s canopies, replaced wooden benches, and created two new two-storey units.

The upgrade was paid for by Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP).

Ian Collett, who has run The Bookstore in the precinct for the past 25 years, said the closure of Clarks was “disastrous”.

He added that two years ago a London-based private landlord had taken over the running of the precinct from SWIP.

Mr Collett added: “It’s a dreadful sign that Clarks has gone and I have been told that Vodafone will shut in May.

Oxford Mail: Vodafone in Abingdon“When the precinct was being revamped in 2012 we lost half our footfall because the work took so long and the precinct has never recovered.

“Didcot’s Orchard Centre has attracted bigger names.

“Bigger units were built here in Abingdon in 2012 to attract fashion retailers and M&S but the footfall was not high enough for them so they didn’t come here.”

Mr Collett said Vale of White Horse District Council could do more to boost footfall in Abingdon.

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He added: “A year or so ago the council reduced the two hours free parking down to one hour so shoppers just rush away – they’ve got no time to browse.

“I’m proud of being a trader in Abingdon – it’s a lovely town but we don’t make the most of it.

“We have noticed that fewer mums with children now come to the precinct because it is not such a nice place to be.”

The Vale council is considering a number of development options for the town centre, including The Charter area, in a report called Central Abingdon Regeneration Framework (CARF).

Help support trusted local news Sign up for a digital subscription now: oxfordmail.co.uk/subscribe As a digital subscriber you will get: • Unlimited access to the Oxford Mail website • Advert-light access • Reader rewards • Full access to our app About the author Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire. His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.

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