AN INTERNATIONAL school, based in Oxford, has appealed after the city council refused its request to convert a former Thai restaurant into a school cafeteria.

The Oxford International School hoped to convert the former Thai Orchid restaurant, on St Clements, into a cafeteria to be used by higher education students.

The planning application to change the restaurant layout into a cafeteria were submitted in January 2020.

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Oxford City Council, however, rejected this planning permission on the grounds that using such a ‘prominent corner plot’ of land on St Clements, would significantly reduce the activity and footfall along the street.

The council added that building a school cafeteria would ‘harm the vitality and viability of the district centre’.

Earlier this week, however, the school decided to appeal the decision that rejected its plans.

In the appeal, the school has said that St Clements street is a 15 minute walk away from Oxford city centre’s primary shopping area, where the Westgate Centre is located.

It also added that that St Clements is located close to Cowley Road which the spokesperson says ‘hosts a significantly greater offer and variety of retail services than St Clements’.

It also argued that St Clements is already characterised by having a large student population and is ‘transient in character’ with much of the retail in the area being targeted at passers-by.

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Oxford International School runs three Oxford based institutions including Oxford International College, Oxford Sixth Form College and d’Overbroecks school.

The school has over 1,000 pupils enrolled, which it claims contributes ‘significantly’ to Oxford’s local economy.

A date for the hearing, which will be held online due to the current Covid restrictions in place, is yet to be decided.

The building has been vacant since 2018, after it was occupied briefly by another Thai restaurant called Jay Fai.

The restaurant closed shortly after it had been a given a two-star food hygiene rating.

You can see the appeal documents by visiting and searching the planning application reference 20/00246/FUL.