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Fears over plan to rent student lets to visitors
CONCERNS have been raised about a move to allow up to 200 people live in student flats in East Oxford outside of term time.
The owner of the Wavy Gate site, in Chapel Street, wants to change a council rule that restricts use of the flats to university students only.
Now housing association A2 Dominion Homes has applied to have the restriction lifted.
It said: “During vacation periods the accommodation may be occupied by students of other institutions, academic and cultural visitors to Oxford, and conference delegates.”
The move has been opposed by Liberal Democrat Graham Jones, a councillor for St Clement’s. He said residents were fed up about the “mission creep” of the Wavy Gate development.
He said: “First the chance was lost of using the site for affordable homes. Flats for postgraduate students of St Hilda’s were approved instead.
“Then St Hilda’s pulled out and the appalling, prison-like blocks we now have were approved.
“People in East Avenue and Ablett Close have lost light and privacy, and night-time security lamps glare into their homes. Disturbance has increased, too. Only the other day there was a Tweet saying ‘Great night #wavygate #oxford #drunk’.”
But he fears the new application will be approved, as precedents have been set elsewhere in the city.
He said: “That doesn’t mean residents’ worries shouldn’t be aired. Their concerns need to be recognised.
“When you live in a ‘student street’, like I do, university vacations are the only times in the year when you can get a proper sleep.
“Maybe the rooms will be let to conference-goers, but I’m not holding my breath. More likely it will be foreign English language students at colleges that are not regulated.”
A2Dominion’s commercial planning manager for the South East, Jim Smith, said: “The council has granted approval for holiday lets at other student accommodation sites in Oxford, including Slade Park, in Horspath Driftway.
“We have received no complaints from nearby residents regarding current Wavy Gate tenants, and the site has been well maintained by students since it opened last October.”
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