AN UNPOPULAR plan to build student flats above Cowley Road's Tesco Metro has been approved.

More than 100 people said they were opposed to the project – but councillors praised it as an innovative use of land.

It will mean 137 student flats will be built on top of the current supermarket.

Residents who attended a council meeting said they felt 'squeezed out' by students 'swamping' the area.

READ MORE: Councillors vow to fight Cowley Road flats project above Tesco

They said in some streets, up to 40 per cent of residents are students who stay there for just a year.

As a result it is difficult to foster a sense of community, they said.

But Lib Dem councillor Michael Gotch said the scheme was 'very attractive architecturally', while planning cabinet member Alex Hollingsworth said the flats will be an improvement on what is there currently.

Mr Hollingsworth said the number of students allowed to live in the city's private housing sector will reduce significantly as part of the authority's Local Plan.

Currently, 6,000 students do not need to live in university-owned accommodation but that will be cut to 4,500 by 2022.

It is understood there have been staff changes at the supermarket.

But there will be no changes to the store's current floorspace.

It will also remain a Tesco Metro, despite some residents' concerns.