Controversial plans to demolish a supermarket to make way for a 92-room hotel have been blocked as fears over its impact on a nearby school were raised.

The Government has stopped a company from redeveloping the Co-op in London Road in Headington.

London-based developer Cantay Estates wanted to build a two to four storey hotel fit with a reception area and retail space.

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The company took the plans to appeal after Oxford City Council failed to make a decision in time.

But a Government Planning Inspector turned down the appeal in a bombshell decision on Monday (January 9).

Oxford Mail: A computer image of the proposed hotel in HeadingtonA computer image of the proposed hotel in Headington (Image: Aros)

Jonathan Bore ruled the hotel would have an “overbearing presence” on St Andrew's Church of England Primary School.

In his report, he said: “Part of the proposed building would present a bulky three storey elevation towards the school.

“It would give the building an overbearing presence next to the school when seen from both east and west.”

Plans for “obscure glazing” in some rooms to avoid overlooking the school showed the “inappropriate siting” of the hotel, he added.

He also claimed the “prominent and bulky appearance” of the building would stand out "awkwardly" in the surrounding street.

The refusal comes after staff and parents at the school lodged objections against the plans in a consultation.

School governor Bruce Huggett warned the hotel would make the school “gloomier” at certain times of the day.

He said: “Even though the design is 'stepped down' nearer the school, the size of the building compared with the existing structures must mean that it will be gloomier on the school site in the afternoons.

"We believe the impact on the quality of education provided in the short term is of real concern - these are heightened by the recovery program for children that schools are working through as a result of the pandemic.”

The school and Cantay has been contacted for comment by the Oxford Mail following the refusal of the plans.

Oxford Mail: The Co-op in London Road, Headington, was bought by Cantay Estates in December 2020The Co-op in London Road, Headington, was bought by Cantay Estates in December 2020

The decision is the latest setback in Cantay’s plans to redevelop the Co-op, which it bought in December 2020.

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Previous attempts to build a hotel on the site were rejected by Oxford City Council in March 2022 and July 2023.

Oxford Mail: Headington councillor Chris Smowton welcomed the refusal of the hotelHeadington councillor Chris Smowton welcomed the refusal of the hotel

The latest refusal was welcomed by Liberal Democrat councillor for the Headington ward, Chris Smowton.

He said: “I'm glad residents won't have to worry about losing their Post Office service, which is a lifeline.

“I hope in the longer term the site could provide something more beneficial for local residents, like adding low-rise affordable housing above the store similar to other Headington shops.”

Despite his refusal of the appeal, Mr Bore said the hotel would not worsen traffic issues and parking in the area.

He instead claimed traffic had the “potential to be lower” than the “multiple trips” made by customers to the supermarket.