SCHOOLCHILDREN and sheltered housing residents got together to protest against plans for a five-storey student block, housing 167 students.

A decision is expected on the scheme next month, which would sit opposite a block of more than 300 student rooms already in Latimer Road, Oxford.

The development, Beech House, would see the demolition of four homes on the corner of London Road and Latimer Road.

Robert Drake, a Latimer Road resident for 15 years, organised the protest to encourage the council to turn the scheme down.

He said: “ A building of four to five storeys is out of character for a residential street like this and the design is ugly.

“The fact that four family homes are being knocked down is a big concern.”

The 59-year-old added: “Students make up an important part of Oxford’s character but what the city desperately needs is affordable accommodation for key workers.”

Following a public consultation on the plans in October 2014, an initial scheme was reduced from 184 student rooms to 175, but increased from four storeys to five.

Plans then submitted in March this year received more than 200 written objections, prompting the developer Frontier Estates to put forward amendments last month.

The latest plans have seen a further decrease in student numbers to 167 and a reduction in the amount of the scheme which would reach five storeys.

If approved the development – combined with the 313 students in the opposite Dorset House – would see 480 students living on the road.

Dr Gareth Jones, a GP who lives in Latimer Road, said: “It will change the whole feel of the road – we don’t want to find ourselves becoming a Brookes campus.”

Sheltered housing block St Luke’s Hospital, home to 43 residents, also sits on the road.

General manager of St Luke Housing Society Sandy Russell said: “We are a sheltered housing complex for the elderly and those with certain disabilities.

“We are concerned for the safety of our tenants not just during demolition and construction but the long term effects too.

“A lot of our residents use mobility scooters and the scheme will increase traffic.”

Mother-of-two Hannah Rea said: “A five-storey block is an overdevelopment of the site and the developer doesn’t seem to have considered the overwhelming need for key worker housing in the area.

“The changes seem to be trivial and the protest is because we feel a debate should be had.”

She said her 11-year-old son Joseph, who has just started walking to Cheney School, was concerned it would increase traffic and become a taxi drop-off point making the road unsafe.

Director at Frontier Estates, Mike Mansell, said: “Beech House will provide much-needed accommodation for students and residential dwellings, within easy walking distance of the Brookes campus and the shops and services in Headington.

“We believe this is the right scheme, in the right place.”

A decision is expected to be made on December 2.