AN EDUCATION company has gone back to the drawing board in its bid to turn a historic Headington building into a school.

Swiss-based firm EF had hoped to turn Cotuit Hall in Pullens Lane into an international academy for 400 pupils.

But residents were unhappy about the scale of the development and the increase in the number of students living in the area.

The planning application, which had been submitted to Oxford City Council, has now been withdrawn.

Anna Ireland, project manager for EF, said: “We took the decision to withdraw the application because we had taken into consideration the concerns raised by the residents and neighbours.

“However, we are going to resubmit and we are going to take the time over the next few months to re-engage with our neighbours.

“We are committed to having our own school there so that is still the intention.”

She said EF had no deadline in mind for when new plans would be unveiled.

EF acquired the 19th century building from Oxford Brookes University in 2011. It was built in 1892 by the Napier family, who lived there for 24 years. It was then owned by Headington School and Oxford Brookes when it used to accommodate just over 100 Brookes students before EF bought the premises for £8m on a 125-year lease.

Six years ago EF bought Plater College, also in Pullens Lane, from the Catholic Church to use as a language school for around 750 students – with 250 living on the site.

EF was planning residential accommodation for 300 on the 1.3-hectare site with another 100 students living in private rented accommodation.

It had claimed that the scheme, which would also include teaching space, would bring around £12m to the local economy.

The students, aged between 16 and 18 years old, will be in Oxford to study on two-year A-Level and International Baccalaureate courses.

The planning application was submitted last year and withdrawn last month.

Pullens Lane resident Tony Besse said: “We are very pleased it has withdrawn the application. We didn’t think the plans were suited to the neighbourhood or indeed the infrastructure.

“The road which leads to Cotuit Hall is a narrow lane with no pavements so having lots of students and lots of traffic would have posed safety problems quite apart from disrupting residents’ lives.”