Family run hardware shop survives both world wars but LTNs the ‘last straw’

The owner of an East Oxford hardware shop that has been in the family for 112 years has said he will shut down after new traffic measures mark the ‘final straw’ in a difficult few years. Silvester’s Stores on Magdalen Road is located one block down from a new bollard installed on May 20 as part of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) trial in East Oxford.  The aim of the trial is to cut traffic coming off arterial roads like Cowley and Iffley into residential streets, to benefit residents, but Stuart Silvester said measures are ‘out of touch with reality.

READ MORE: Cowley Road restaurant to close down this weekend Oxford Mail: Stuart Silvester in his hardware store on Magdalen Street. Stuart Silvester in his hardware store on Magdalen Street. He said: “It’s an absolute disaster to be honest.

“Thankfully the business has come through two world wars and the pandemic, but LTNs have hit traders the most. “They didn’t listen to the traders. God knows how people are going to afford to keep running. 

“Larger suppliers can’t get down here, things like compost deliveries and logs come on big trucks but they’re too big a wagon.  “Its not worth me being here, I’ll be running at deficit.” The business owner took over from his late father in 2016 and said the business has been family owned since his grandfather started up in 1910.

Oxford Mail: Silvester Stores on Magdalen Street to close down. Silvester Stores on Magdalen Street to close down. READ MORE: Councillor SLAMS LTNs as ‘appalling’ betrayal of public trust On closing up, the father-of-two said: “I have been giving it a lot of thought for a few months because I know what’s coming.

It’s been a difficult few years, but this has made my mind up. “It’s the final straw.” The Didcot based 56-year-old planned to retire when he was 60 but has brought that forward.

He said: “I’m going to wind business up, I’ll go through to March as that’ll be the end of my financial year.  On the LTNs specifically, he said: “This has hit my trade dramatically, its upsetting the community too.  “We’ve always got on well here, so its a shame the divisions are starting to destroy the community and cause tension.

“It’s been a huge part of my life, its such a shame.” A spokesperson from Oxfordshire County Council said: “We know that some residents and businesses have faced challenges as these traffic calming measures settle in. “The east Oxford low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) have been implemented as a trial, which allows us to continually monitor them on a site-by-site basis and evaluate their impact.

“We have spoken to business owners throughout the development and implementation of the experimental east Oxford LTNs and regular meetings will continue with the business community to monitor the impact of the LTNs as the trials progress. “We will also be offering one-to-one support to businesses looking to adapt their delivery strategies. “We would strongly encourage people to engage with our public consultation on these LTNs, and the filter locations, at letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/east-oxford-ltns-2022.

“A decision on whether to make the trial scheme permanent, extend or remove it cannot be made without engagement with those affected and we want to hear all views.” This story was written by Shosha Adie.  She joined the team in 2022 as a digital reporter.   

To get in touch with her email: Shosha.Adie@newsquest.co.uk Follow her on Twitter: @ShoshaAdie

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