THE lack of affordable housing in the new Westgate development has been branded 'a scandal' after it was revealed two-bed flats could cost up to £500,000.

None of the 59 apartments in the £440m will be social or shared-ownership homes, and as the luxury flats are unveiled the council has been accused of 'selling the residents of Oxford down the river'.

The homes - agreed in 2014 - are instead expected to attract parents of university students buying for their children to live in and as long term investments.

The five-storey residential block Mill Stream House will include 59 homes, made up of 35 one-bedroom apartments - costing £350,000 and 24 with two-bedrooms.

Pointing to city council rules which say 50 per cent of housing in new developments must be affordable, former Oxford City Council scrutiny committee chairman and Green Party leader Craig Simmons said: "This breaches Oxford City Council’s own regulations.

"The city council sold the residents of Oxford down the river."

Under the deal in place, the Council will receive 15 per cent of the sales value of the homes, in place of its standard affordable housing quota.

This is thought to be worth in the region of £3m.

But Mr Simmons said because of the high cost of land and property in the city, this would not generate enough cash to build replacement affordable homes.

He added: "They have done a deal on land they own, so could have made the whole site affordable housing.

"But to have no affordable housing at all and to agree instead 15 per cent of the sale price is a bad deal.

"It’s a scandal and one of the worst planning decisions ever taken in the city."

The £440m revamp of the Westgate centre, which includes restaurants, cinema and 100 shops including John Lewis, Hugo Boss, Jo Malone, Ted Baker, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, will open to the public on October 24.

All apartments in Westgate’s new housing block will have private balconies, or roof terraces.

The top level will include 12 one- and two-bedroom penthouses.

And a pair of two-bedroom penthouses at either end of the building will come with bigger roof gardens – one with views towards the city and the other looking out across countryside.

Land Securities, which is developing the flats in a joint venture with the Crown Estate, through the Westgate Alliance has appointed sales agent Savills to market the homes, said although final prices have not been fixed, the two super-penthouse units will cost more than half a million each.

Jan Eldridge, residential consultant of Land Securities, said: “It is alongside superb retail and leisure facilities and within close proximity to the rail station, so to live there would be incredible.”

Car-owning buyers may have a problem, as there is no parking with the apartment block, although there will be bicycle stores, cycle paths and footpaths.

Despite the apartments’ hefty price tag, demand looks likely to outstrip supply.

Although none are on sale yet, or will be ready to move into until the autumn, 100 people have already registered interest.

These are a mix of owner-occupiers and buy-to-let landlords and Ms Eldridge said she believed there would be 'a very healthy split' between the two.

Karen Mole, director of residential development sales for Savills in Oxford, added: “Mill Stream House at the Westgate is one of the most exciting residential developments in Oxford City for over a decade.

“There’s been this strong level of interest because it’s such a landmark development for Oxford.”

Apartments will have under-floor heating and two-bedroom units come with two bathrooms.

Jan Eldridge explained: “We always aim to give a luxurious spec.

"It’s what you would expect of a high-end, city-centre apartment scheme."

Ahead of the development's approval in November 2014 Oxford City Council decided to ask Westgate Alliance to pay 15 per cent of the sales value instead of making 50 per cent of the site affordable housing.

It was criticised at the time by the Green party but the council said the accommodation proposed was 'not as suitable' for those on the council's housing list as other sites the council could provide elsewhere.

Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning and Regulatory Services, said: "The council’s preference is to provide affordable housing on site, but when that's not the best option we will consider off site contribution instead, treating each site on its merits.

"The design and type of housing in the Westgate scheme – comprising one and two bed flats - did not meet the council’s affordable housing priority needs, as confirmed by the council’s Housing Service at the time.

"This site will trigger a substantial financial contribution which will be used to pay for more appropriate affordable housing for families elsewhere in the city."