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University to rent rooms to students outside term time
STUDENT accommodation in East Oxford will soon take in sixth formers outside of university term time.
Oxford City Council members have allowed Wavy Gate in Chapel Street to take 16 to 18-year-olds from Oxford Summer Academy.
Owner A2 Dominion said it received no complaints about its use by university students since it opened in October.
At the moment, Oxford Brookes and Kings College use the site and A2 Dominion is in the process of leasing the building to Oxford International College.
But some councillors have said residents should be given a break from student neighbours outside of term time.
Liberal Democrat councillor for St Clements Graham Jones called in the application for decision by the west area planning committee.
He raised concerns about younger students being in an area which he said is renowned for its high levels of noise and drunkeness.
He told the Oxford Mail: “This is a far cry from the postgraduates we understood would be in residence, and something we would not have known about had this application not been called in.”
Previously, the former Travis Perkins site had been earmarked for office space before being granted permission for student use.
He added: “There is also a lot of unhappiness in East Oxford over the way the planning goalposts on this site have been moved, not once but several times.”
Other student accommodation sites have won planning permission for similar use, including Slade Park in Horspath Driveway.
Dr Jones said anti-social behaviour is “top of the agenda” for the East Oxford Neighbourhood Action Group, which brings together residents and police.
He said council licensing chiefs were last month warned residents suffer sleepless nights from “alcohol-fuelled noise and disturbance”.
Dr Jones added: “Wavy Gate is already getting a reputation among the students who currently occupy one of the blocks. A recent Tweet said ‘Great night #wavygate #oxford #drunk’. No surprise people say ‘enough is enough’.Planning law doesn’t make allowance for levels of drunkenness and crime.”
Committee member Bev Clack said at Tuesday’s meeting: “My concern with this is that this is another variation to what we were originally presented with.
“I am not happy with how the process of planning has happened with this site.”
But committee members were told no complaints had been made to the council and A2 Dominion. One resident objected to the plan.
A2 Dominion’s south east commercial planning man-ager Jim Smith said: “This is a standard practice at other student accommodation sites across Oxford and the South East.
“We reiterate that to date 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 in October 2013.”
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