A PRIVATE school has been refused permission to knock down a former police station and turn it into boarding accommodation for 100 students.

D'Overbroeck's independent school wanted to knock down two houses on Banbury Road just south of the Cutteslowe roundabout, and replace them with a four-storey accomodation block for up to 100 students aged between 11 and 18 years old.

The school was denied planning permission by Oxford City Council's west area planning committee when it sat for its first virtual meeting on Tuesday.

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A report to the committee said the council could not accept the two houses on the site being lost.

But an agent for the school argued that though the buildings were classes as homes they had not been used in that way for years.

The planning report said losing two houses would be contrary to the city council's Local Plan, which prioritised the need to keep as many homes in the city as possible in use.

A planning officer at the meeting added that boarding school accommodation did not count as accommodation in the same way that student halls or houses did.

Oxford Mail:

In red: The site of the two homes from above at Cutteslowe Roundabout. Picture: Google Maps.

The planning report also added that two wardens' flats planned for the site were too small, and one would have a window which would peer over the wall of the house next door.

There were also concerns about thieves being able to hide in an underground car park and easily break into cars.

Because of these points, it said the application should be refused.

But Julian Philcox, a planning agent for d'Overbroeck's appealed for the committee to defer their decision so changes could be made to the plans which would allow them to go ahead.

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Mr Philcox said while the two buildings were classed as houses, they had been specialist police accommodation for many years and had 'never been available to the wider public of Oxford'.

He added they were later used as office space by Thames Valley Police, and had lain empty since the police moved out in the 1990s.

But councillors on the committee were not convinced by his arguments and unanimously refused the school's plans for the new boarding block.

D'Overbroeck's has sites throughout the centre of Oxford, but its main teaching building is at 333 Banbury Road, to the north of Summertown shops.

Planning reference 19/02366/OUT