STAFF have spoken out against the proposed closure of a university restaurant, stressing its importance for students and the community.

As reported in Monday's Oxford Mail, Oxford Brookes University has been consulting on the potential closure of Brookes Restaurant in Headington.

The restaurant is a training ground for students in the institution's Oxford School of Hospitality Management (OSHM), but is also open to the public and boasts a five-star rating on TripAdvisor.

READ MORE: Outrage as 'Oxford's best restaurant' at risk of closing

Staff claim the plan is due to financial struggles and a shift away from 'meaningful' study.

Oxford Mail:

The restaurant's TripAdvisor page

A statement made anonymously by a group of former and current staff members involved in the school said: "Brookes Restaurant is an excellent environment for practical skills development, but also a forum for learning about entrepreneurship, business ethics, food and its place in culture.

"All students, academics, alumni and friends of OSHM are in no doubt that it plays a major role in securing the school's international reputation and ranking.

"Its closure is not only a result of financial issues - it is also a result of managerial control rather than a meaningful curriculum in Oxford Brookes Business School towards OSHM courses.

"This, and other enforced changes to the OSHM BSc, is indicative of the Oxford Brookes Business School's desire to unify and standardise provision in the field of business and management, without regard to specialist skills required for hospitality management."

Oxford Brookes has confirmed that consultation has now ended, and will not be making any further comment at this stage.

A spokesperson previously said the restaurant will continue to operate in the 2019/2020 academic year, regardless of the decision.

Kathy Mitchell, who was a senior lecturer on the hotel and restaurant management degree course, said she reacted with 'absolute horror' to the potential closure.

She retired 13 years ago, having worked for almost 30 years at the university, and stressed the restaurant's value in giving students practical preparation for industry.

ALSO READ: Headington pub goes on the market after sudden closure

Mrs Mitchell, who lives in Headington, said: "It is so important for the quality of the degree - students have a better chance of getting a better job for work experience and a better job when they graduate.

"Our students had work placements all over the world, and I just can't see how that quality will be maintained without the restaurant.

"It's like trying to train a nurse without them working in a hospital. To try to find a job for a student who has no evidence of any practical training - none of the top London restaurants would look at them."

Oxford Mail:

Inside the restaurant

She said the restaurant is also a 'wonderful' asset to the wider area, adding: "It brought the community and the university together.

"I think local people will miss it and the Brookes partnership with the community will suffer."

According to an article in industry news outlet The Caterer, dated 1998, hotelier David Levin contributed £300,000 to relaunch the Brookes restaurant that year.

Mrs Mitchell said: "It had been open for years before that and we were doing very traditional silver service, which was totally dated.

"We had an enormous change to make it more modern and make the dishes we served much more modern. It changed the whole concept. David Levin gave money for that, he was a great supporter of the restaurant."

ALSO READ: Oxford family turn village local into French-style bistro

Rosemary Bryan, who lives off Old Road in Headington, is among residents who regularly eats at the restaurant.

She said: "Brookes has had quite a detrimental impact on the Headington area - students take up an awful lot of housing, bring cars even though they're not meant to, their gardens are full of rubbish and there are noisy parties.

"The restaurant was a little bit of an offset. They will be taking away a nice facility - I think people will be far more hostile towards Brookes if this goes ahead."

A final decision is expected in the coming weeks.