Work to transform a run-down area of shops and flats in Banbury has been given a welcome retail boost.
The site in Orchard Way is being revamped to provide a selection of new housing opportunities as part of a deal with Cherwell District Council and Habitat for Humanity.
And on Monday, Spruced & Dapper hairdressers moved from its George Street base into a new salon on the site.
Lucy Isaac, owner, said: “We have had a lot of positive comments from clients who have relocated with us and the community here is lovely.
“There is free parking and we are looking to be here for several years.”
The council was successful in securing £490,000 Affordable Homes Funding from the Homes and Communities Agency and has identified the site and the neighbouring Lincoln House as part of the larger Banbury regeneration project to improve the town.
Both stages will form part of the council’s Build! programme, which encourages young people to play a part in building their own homes.
Ms Isaac has been running her business for seven years and has been offered a flat as part of redevelopment.
Councillor John Donaldson, Cherwell’s lead member for brighter futures, said: “It is great to be able to regenerate an area that was very tired and to get the employment with the shops underneath is the way forward. I am just pleased at the outcome to link the shops and housing together and create more job opportunities.” Habitat for Humanity and Kidlington-based ACE Training have been refurbishing the 13 existing vacant properties in Orchard Way since April and it is estimated they will be available to lease by the end of this year.
Mr Donaldson said: “The Build! programme and brighter futures are very important functions and regarded as a high priority by councillors.”