THE site of the former Friar pub in Marston could become student flats as a seven-year saga nears its end.

Plans for a three-storey building with 30 student rooms, a kitchen diner and communal garden have been submitted after Tesco pulled out of the site after a long battle with residents.

The store chain bought the site in 2008 and won permission in 2011 for a new Tesco Express.

The site was bought from restaurateur Clinton Pugh after he failed to develop a café and flats on the site.

Residents campaigned against the new store and Tesco pulled out earlier this year. Independent city councillor for Marston Mick Haines said the plans were “a good result”.

He said: “It has been a long battle and we fought hard against Tesco because it would have had an impact on our local shops.

“A lot of people would have liked a café or something underneath but I don’t think that was ever going to happen and I think this will be quite good. I can’t see any problems with it.”

Mr Haines also said that after a meeting with architects the trees around the site and a nearby walkway would stay. It is thought medical students will move into the 30 ensuite rooms and that cars will not be allowed on site.

Eric Perkins, 57, who lives in Crotch Crescent near to the site of the former pub, said he had not taken a proper look at the plans but was concerned the new use would not benefit the community.

He said: “We are all obviously very pleased that a Tesco store is not going to go there.

“As local residents we want to have something built that will benefit the community as the pub was at the heart of the community.

“I’m not sure student accommodation will do that. It seems every available property in the city is used for students.”

Dr Susannah Wilson, of Ferry Road, said in comments on the plans: “There are a lot of concerns locally about closure of community spaces. Almost all the pubs in new Marston have now closed without being replaced.

“Student flats will increase the transient nature of the population and increase noise levels.

“This is an area with need for family housing as well as flats.”