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Opinion split on student housing in Cowley
PLANS for student housing in Cowley Road have been recommended for refusal despite support from the community.
East Oxford residents have written to Oxford City Council in support of plans for 229 to 233 Cowley Road.
The applicant Ms M Kandola wants to change the use of number 229 to a 13-bedroom student house and build two flats in the land behind numbers 231 and 233.
But despite the public backing, which has also been pledged by the Divinity Road Area Residents’ Association and Civic Society, council officers have urged councillors to refuse permission.
Tawney Street resident Sarah Lasenby said: “Generally I think there are too many students around here, but this one I support.
“This building is not embedded in the community, it’s on the main road. It’s also different because it will cater for a large number of students who would need to find accommodation elsewhere if it was refused.”
She said number 229, pictured, had previously been used as student accommodation, and should be allowed to be used in that way again.
Tom Knollys, from the Divinity Road Area Residents’ Association said: “The proposal to formalise the current use of 229 Cowley Road as student accommodation and the development of the unused land to the rear is welcome.”
But a report to councillors serving on the city’s west area planning committee, which meets tonight, said it should be thrown out.
It said: “The proposed development would result in the net loss of a self-contained residential dwelling from the East Oxford neighbourhood area which is an area identified as having an intense pressure to safeguard new family dwellings and to achieve a higher proportion of family dwellings as part of the mix of new residential developments.”
A planning statement issued on behalf of the applicant said: “The application relates to changing the use of 229 Cowley Road, a three storey end of terrace building, to student accommodation.
“As this would involve the loss of a residential unit, it is proposed to provide two three-bedroom flats on the land at the rear of 229, 231 and 233 Cowley Road and facing Bartlemas Road. This land is already separately fenced and is currently unused apart from various materials that have been deposited there.
“229 Cowley Road has the capacity to accommodate 13 students. The adjoining properties 231 and 233 Cowley Road are already used for student accommodation.”
The west area planning committee will meet at the Town Hall from 6pm.