RESIDENTS who have objected to plans to add an extra two floors to the top of a school's boarding house are in the minority, according to the school's architect.

Plans to add extra floors to Cherwell House, a two-storey accommodation block for GCSE and A-level students at Cherwell College, were approved last Tuesday (October 13).

A total of 65 residents had written letters to object to the plans, with concerns about how adding 26 extra student rooms to the building would effect traffic, cause noise, and even back up nearby sewers.

The planning application for the Osney Lane building, which sits on the west side of the train tracks south of Oxford station also drew the attention of local MP Layla Moran.

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But an architect who was part of the team who designed the plans has said more people were either ambivalent about the plans or even in favour of them than those who objected.

Speaking at a meeting of Oxford City Council's west area planing committee, Adrian James said there were 305 homes on the street in the New Osney neighbourhood.

He added: "In fact there are 305 residences in New Osney, so 65 people objecting when there are probably over 600 people living there. It’s only one in ten, it’s not a huge number of objections at all.

"The vast majority are reconciled to it, they might even like it but have not written in."

A member of the New Osney residents' association, Rhiannon Ash, spoke against the plans, and said they went against a decision by a Government planning inspector in 2011, to not allow a third storey to be added to the building.

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How Cherwell House would look with the extra two floors and cladding. Picture: Adrian James Architects/ Oxford City Council

She also said the building's connection to the sewage system was 'totally unclear and undocumented'.

But both of these arguments were quashed by Mr James, who said the planning inspectors' concerns were not about the height of the development, but the way the building was designed.

He added: "Cherwell House has been attached to the main sewer. That has been confirmed by Thames Water. It has been operating for five years."

Planning committee member John Tanner asked whether planned copper cladding for the building would be safe.

Stephen Clarke, principal of Cherwell College confirmed it would be.

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Louise Upton, also on the committee was concerned the same cladding would become stained green with age and look unpleasant.

But architect Mr James said that this would not be likely as the cladding was vertical and the amount of rain falling upon it during the 'lifetime' of the building would not cause it to rust.

A report submitted alongside the planning application said the extension would make better use of a 'sustainable' site in the city.

The committee voted by majority to approve the extension to the building.

Planning reference 20/01139/FUL