East Oxford residents are reviving their campaign against plans to build student accommodation near a medieval leper hospital.
Oxford University’s Oriel College says it will appeal over a scheme to create 31 rooms for graduate students, on the site of a former nursery school in the Bartlemas conservation area, off Cowley Road.
Last year a planning inspector rejected the college’s plans for a three-storey building, on the grounds that it infringed on the site of a farmhouse, one of three historic buildings on the site.
The proposal had been recommended for approval by city council planning officers but was rejected by the council’s east area committee in November 2008. A revised application for the student block was rejected by councillors in April.
But the college confirmed this week that it was not prepared to give up on its plans for the site of a former leper colony, which has been owned by the college since 1329.
News that there was to be a second appeal went down badly with members of the Divinity Road Area Residents’ Association, who believe the development will affect the setting of the Grade I listed St Bartholomew’s chapel, Bartlemas House and Bartlemas Farmhouse.
Association spokesman Sietske Boeles said: “Its historic buildings lie in a rural and secluded setting.
“It will have significant impact on the farmhouse and the houses in lower Southfield Road.”
Richard English, who lives close to the site, said the ancient buildings and their pastoral setting had miraculously survived through the centuries, with a conservation area created in 1976 to protect them.
He said: “The hamlet has already been compromised by the recent building of Sinnet Court student accommodation blocks for Oxford Brookes University.”
But Oriel Estates bursar Wilf Stephenson said: “The planning inspector who heard our earlier appeal did a thorough and professional job and gave clear reasons why he rejected it.
“We believe our revised application has addressed his concerns.”
The college says the building would include impressive environmental features, with the housing forming an open sided courtyard around a natural watercourse.
The reminder of Oxford’s early medical past sits between Southfield and Bartlemas roads.