TWO houses on a main road running into the centre of Oxford are up for redevelopment into a series of student flats.

The two terraced houses on St Clements would be transformed into 15 student ensuite student rooms under the plans, with a common area and caretaker’s office as well.

The planning application, submitted on October 24, seeks a change of use for numbers 46 and 47 St Clements Street from houses of multiple occupation, known as HMOs, to student accommodation.

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Developer Simon Walshaw and his agent JPPC Town Planners have applied to make what they have described as ‘modest alterations’ to the buildings, which would include demolishing an extension behind one of the houses and replacing it with a new one.

Windows would be replaced, and the outside of the buildings would be repainted.

A total of 12 bicycles could be stored behind the buildings as well.

One nearby neighbour, Cornelia van der Poll, of Jeune Street, has objected to the application.

Ms van der Poll wrote to Oxford City Council to say the planned uPVC windows ‘will be replaced with more of the same, which will quickly make its way to landfill to poison our environment.’

She added: “While these buildings are humble, they are an important part of an important city, and they deserve the best quality treatment.

“The students who are going to live in this building will inflict costs on the community (noise, anti-social behaviour, drinking) while making huge profits for the landlord.

“A minimal quid pro quo would be a high-quality facade which enhances the environment for everyone, makes residents feel proud of their temporary home, and even encourages them to treat it with respect.

“Sustainable timber sash windows with proper detailing is the least such a lovely building deserves, and they will last more than 100 years with proper maintenance.”

Ian Carmichael, a crime prevention design advisor at Thames Valley Police, wrote to Oxford City Council advising it to make sure the buildings’ owner applies for accreditation under a scheme called Secure by Design to prevent crime at the houses.

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Outside of term time, the landlord has said he wants to use the building for short term lets.

In October, Oxford City Council started to urge landlords to voluntarily apply for planning permission if they let out an entire house on a short-term basis for more than 140 nights a year.

This is aimed at homeowners who use Airbnb to let out whole houses.

At the time, Oxford City Council deputy leader Linda Smith said short lets had 'exacerbated Oxford's housing crisis' and the new measure was designed to stop a further hike in local rents.

To read more about the application, visit Oxford City Council’s planning webpage and search planning reference 19/02749/FUL