Sian Taylor and Tom Hayes, Labour’s council candidates for St. Mary’s and St. Clement’s respectively, were delighted to help save East Oxford music shop Professional Music Technology (PMT) from closure this week. As well as selling instruments to bands such as Radiohead, Foals, and Supergrass, the store’s petition (which Sian signed and had others sign) tells the lovely story of a musician only going ahead with a gig because of PMT’s loan of a key instrument. Losing PMT would have been a blow to Cowley Road’s diversity. Not only would a valued community place have gone, but a bland chain restaurant would have filled its place. Like local residents Sian met to rally support for the council planning meeting, she doesn’t want Cowley Road to become another boring identikit high street. That’s why Tom and Sian both spoke up for PMT in the city council meeting which saved the store.

Tom Hayes said: “I congratulate local residents and the store’s staff on their campaign, as well as Labour councillor John Tanner and local resident Annie Skinner for proposing the refusal in the planning meeting. Had it not been for Labour’s vigilance in St Mary’s, planning officers would have approved the replacement of PMT. I also congratulate the six Labour councillors on the nine-person planning committee who voted unanimously to save PMT.”

Sian added: “This proposal only went to the planning committee because Labour Councillor John Tanner called it in, after action by local resident Annie Skinner. In the run-up to the vote I was campaigning with staff from the store and local residents to ensure PMT stayed put. I was delighted that the proposal was rejected and that every Labour councillor on the committee voted against it. We need a diverse range of shops on Cowley Road, including independent local business such as PMT, not more national chains.”

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