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Neighbours object to plans for more student homes
RESIDENTS have objected to a developer’s plans to build more student properties in West Oxford.
Tariq Khuja has submitted a planning application to the city council to build nine student rooms next to Thames Wharf in Rodger Dudman Way.
Mr Khuja already owns two student properties in the area, and residents have said the state of them should be taken into consideration when a decision is made on the new plans.
Venneit Close residents Keith and Jane Cunningham say they have been plagued by problems since they moved to the area last December.
Mr Cunningham, 64, a retired company managing director, said a plan to revitalise the area should be drawn up following the development.
He said: “Everyone’s doing all these little short-term things, but no-one’s looking at the overall impact.
“The problem with his (Mr Khuja’s) building work is the time he’s taken to do it. He started the second block about 20 months ago and it looks like there’s still quite a lot more work to be done.
“The longer it takes, the more uncomfortable it is for people living here, but now he’s put in an application for another smaller block.”
The council has received more than a sozen objections on planning grounds such as over-development.
He added that problems with the one block Mr Khuja has already built in the area made him concerned about any further building.
Pictures of rubbish and discarded household items strewn across the lawns of one of the blocks has upset neighbours, although it is not believed he is responsible for either the mess or for cleaning up the gardens.
Jericho and Osney city councillor Susanna Pressel said the situation with the existing properties was not a legitimate reason on planning grounds for refusal of the proposal.
She added: “As I understand it, the state of the properties can’t be taken into account, but there are definitely lots of other grounds for refusing this.
“I am making sure the council enforces a proper standard of upkeep at these flats, but there seems to be a great tendency to back-slide from the standards that should be maintained.
“I think it will be a constant battle with these properties, but I am willing to continue to fight that battle.
“I believe large fines can be imposed on landlords who do not maintain these standards and I will make sure they are imposed if this comes up.”
The properties in question are a short distance from the controversial Castle Mill development of Oxford University student flats.
Mr Khuja was unavailable for comment.