Student plans back on the table
A DEVELOPER has re-launched a controversial bid to build 100 student rooms in West Oxford.
Plans for the redevelopment of Innovation House, in Mill Street, were thrown out in March on the grounds that the scheme reduced the amount of business accommodation in the area.
The decision was welcomed by residents, who said the scheme, in combination with several other high-profile developments in the area, would leave them surrounded by student housing.
Now developer HXRUK3 has reworked the design and has appealed against the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.
Since language school Bellerby’s College moved to Trajan House in September 2010, residents say more than 350 students a day walk up and down the narrow street.
And planners have also backed WE Black’s plans for 55 new study rooms in an old railway sidings off Mill Street. Retired builder Brendan Carter, 65, who has lived in Mill Street for decades, said: “There are far too many students around here, and there are more coming with 50-odd rooms being built behind us and now this plan is back.
“I grew up in this area and it used to be a great little area, but now the Osney Arms has closed, two clubs have closed, it feels like we’re being culturally cleansed.
“I’m not in any way against students, I just wish they would grow up a bit.”
Neighbour Rosemary Preston said householders were worried about the effect more students would have on the area.
She said: “The real concern is that what was a small residential community suddenly has lots of students living in it, and there are other proposals.
“None of us are anti-student, it’s just about keeping a balance in the population.”
She said residents were putting an official challenge together on planning grounds, due to be submitted before the end of the month.
The public has until October 25 to comment on the bid, and then a planning inspector will be selected to deliberate on the proposals.
West Waddy ADP, which is acting as an agent for the Innovation House application, declined to comment.
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