A GLOSSY brochure promoting plans for 150 student rooms has been posted through doors near to where they could be built ahead of a meeting to decide their fate.

University College wants to build the rooms in a series of seven three-storey blocks of flats at a site it owns on Banbury Road called Fairfield.

The plans also include room for a gym, a nursery and café, which the college hopes will act as a second campus to complement its existing complex on the High Street.

According to the college, it would use the new accommodation, also nicknamed ‘Stavertonia’ because of the nearby Staverton Road, to house second year undergraduate students and graduate students.

ALSO READ: Oxford bike theft 'epidemic' must stop, says family of 'devastated' schoolboy

A week before the plans are due for consideration by Oxford City Council’s west area planning committee, a ‘newsletter’ has been pushed through letterboxes of residents of four streets surrounding the area where the flats would be built: Banbury Road, Woodstock Road, Staverton Road and Rawlinson Road.

Oxford Mail:

The newsletter

The newsletter said there is a ‘pressing need for more student housing in Oxford’ which will help free up private rented housing for non-students.

The glossy four-page brochure also said that consultation with local residents has led to a design of the new buildings which ‘reflect and compliment local architectural heritage.’

But Woodstock Road resident David Paroissien said he felt some of these claims were not fair.

Oxford Mail:

Inside the four-page newsletter

He said: “I, like almost 90 per cent of the people who are strongly opposed to it, are people whose careers have been in education.

“Generally we are academics and we don’t tend to have the ‘town and gown’ hostility. It is all part of our life and work.”

He added: “All of us agree certainly students need to be housed but what upsets us about this is the sheer dishonesty of what they are proposing. The dormitories they would like to erect are for largely graduate students, possibly with families as well. In no way is it going to alleviate or address the problem of having too many students in the city taking up affordable housing.”

Mr Paroissien added he felt there had been ‘very little opportunity for a productive exchange of opposing views’.

READ AGAIN about when the Stavertonia Plans were originally made

Adding to Mr Paroissien’s concerns are 236 public comments submitted to the planning application’s webpage, with a majority of them writing to object to University College’s plans.

A group of residents from all four roads surrounding the development also penned a joint letter to the city council’s planning department in June.

Their concerns included that the development would lead to the felling of 132 trees and would damage the North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Area, which is supposed to have special planning protection.

Oxford Mail:

Red: The boundaries of the site at Banbury Road owned by University College. Blue: The site where most of the new construction will take place. Picture: Google Maps.

The letter said: “Dropping a large, intense campus into the middle of the conservation area would damage Climate (especially biodiversity), Conservation (driving institutional and commercial Oxford further into the heart of its Victorian heritage residential area), and Community (creating a large detached ‘island’ with no real connection to the surrounding community and contributing nothing to the urgent needs of Oxford’s key workers).”

Local county councillor John Howson also wrote to object to the plans, saying they would change the character of the area from one which is balanced between residents and students, to being one with too many students.

The newsletter pushed through doors near Banbury Road was produced with help from public relations firm Meeting Place Communications.

MPC was also responsible for helping a developer to win planning permission for a set of flats above Cowley Road Tesco last year.

In its case study on the success of the Cowley Road flats, the firm acknowledged ‘further student accommodation in Oxford can potentially be a sensitive topic’ and said it had encourage people to submit positive opinions about that planning application to provide ‘a balance of opinion’.

University College was asked whether its plans were 'dishonest', and what it had done to consult the views of residents living near the Fairfield site.

A spokesman for the college said: “The college has submitted an application to Oxford City Council for planning permission for the development of its Fairfield site in north Oxford for student accommodation and ancillary facilities.

"The college engaged in extensive consultations with the local residents whose views were taken into account. The application will be heard at a planning committee meeting next week at which local residents will be represented.”

The west area planning committee will meet on Tuesday at 3pm to discuss the plans for Fairfield.