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Ruskin applies to keep student rooms plan 'alive'
6:00pm Friday 1st February 2013 in News
WORK on new student accommodation at Ruskin Hall will not necessarily start within three years, despite a renewed planning bid.
Ruskin College has applied to Oxford City Council for an extension of the planning permission it already has for two student accommodation blocks on the site.
It was given permission to build the blocks, totalling 126 rooms, on the Dunstan Road site in 2009, but has missed the three-year deadline for work to start.
The college recently moved all its operations to Ruskin Hall, having previously been split between the site and its former base in Walton Street.
College principal Prof Audrey Mullender said: “We just want to keep the planning permission ‘live’. We have no fixed plans.”
Planning permission was sought when the college thought it would get financial support towards its £16m redevelopment from the Government. But hopes evaporated in 2009.
Prof Mullender said: “We had been led to believe there would be Government backing for our plans, which then wasn’t forthcoming. There was an expectation of considerable backing, but we ended up having to reduce the scope of what we wanted to do.”
The project was put on hold, but Prof Mullender said the plans had not been altered because the college’s ambitions hadn’t changed.
She said: “It doesn’t necessarily mean we want to start any time soon.”
The bid for renewed planning permission has been opposed by the Friends of Old Headington group and former Ruskin College principal John Hughes, whose wife Vi has written to the east area planning committee. It will consider the application at 6pm on Tuesday at the Town Hall.