A MAMMOTH five-storey student block is set to be built on the site of a Cowley social club.

The 'dilapidated' Cowley Conservative Club on Between Towns Road faces demolition to make way for the 220-student housing block.

Oxford developer Cantay Estates dropped leaflets to around 2,000 neighbours revealing its grand designs for the vacant club, which is close to Templars Square Shopping Centre.

This will be the third attempt in the past decade to redevelop the 20,000sq ft site – this time with more student rooms and no social club included.

Developers say the latest efforts aim to 'free up pressure on the city's existing housing stock, while providing students with first-class facilities'.

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A spokesman said: "Cantay Estates are an Oxford-based company with experience of developing student housing in the city.

"We are hoping to bring this largely disused brownfield site back into active use with the development of much-needed student accommodation.

"We are currently at an early stage of our consultation with Cowley residents living close to the site and welcome their feedback on the plans we have produced."

Initial designs show the towering student block to vary from three and five storeys across the 'disused brownfield site' that sits at the junction with St Luke's Road.

Proposals would see 17/17b-19 Between Towns Road knocked down and replaced with 220 student study rooms, 36 common rooms, an internal courtyard and two shop units on the ground floor.

Developers have previously proposed building accommodation on the site for Oxford Brookes University students, but it is not yet clear whether this proposal is designed for Brookes students.

There would be three bicycle parking spaces for every four bedrooms, and between three and five car parking spaces for the entire block.


Developers say the plans would bring back to life the 'disused' building which was taken over by Cantay Estates in January. It has sat vacant since the end of last year.

Before this, it said the building was used in an 'administrative capacity' and is thought to have stopped functioning as a social club in 2015.

Two previous applications in the past decade proposed similar developments at the site but were withdrawn on both occasions by past applicant Latis.

In 2011, the firm proposed a four-storey block including 150 student flats, retail space and a social club, but was met with major backlash.

Residents were concerned that, with only six proposed parking spaces, surrounding streets would be swamped with students' cars, despite the no-car policy for students.

Plans were withdrawn before the former applicants returned with an altered proposal in October 2014, scrapping the student accommodation in favour of 45 residential flats.

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Since Cantay Estates took over the site in January, it has ruled out the chance of creating residential accommodation away from student flats.

A statement on its website says: "Plans for the site are currently in development, with a number of options for alternative use being explored.

"Residential use however will not be considered on this site, as current requirements for 50 per cent affordable housing on site including a high proportion of social rented units would make any scheme unviable."

Cantay Estates, assisting GreenSquare Group, also bid to turn offices on nearby Barns Road into 27 one-bed flats.

The developer is also vying for approval of a 102-home plan for William Morris Close playing fields in Cowley.

A planning application for the redevelopment of Cowley Conservative Club is expected to be submitted to Oxford City Council in Autumn 2019.

Developers hope plans could be approved by Oxford City Council by March 2020.

The public can have their say on the plans up to Friday, August 23, by contacting cowleyconsultation@cratus.co.uk