The owners of a popular cocktail bar in Oxford has been told he can't convert part of it into flats.

Earlier this year the owner of The House bar in Wheatsheaf Yard, off High Street, applied for planning permission to transform the first and second floor of the bar into four one-bedroom flats.

The ground floor was to remain a bar, according to the change of use application considered by the city council. 

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But council planners have now refused owner Glen de Unger's 'change of use' application because the loss of the community facilities would cause 'grave harm' to the vibrancy of the city centre.

The decision document said: "The proposal would involve the loss of the upper floors of the House cocktail bar serving as function rooms, which are considered to be a community facility which currently adds to the social and cultural scene of the city.

Oxford Mail: The entrance to Wheatsheaf yard"The loss of this community facility would cause grave harm and damage to the vibrancy, diversity and socio-economic make-up of Oxford city centre.

"The submitted application fails to demonstrate that the House Bar as a whole, or the upper floor function rooms are unviable, nor does it demonstrate that there are comparable alternative facilities within the city centre.

"The proposed residual cocktail bar use on the ground floor would not adequately retain the use of the site in a manner that would safeguard the valued community facility.

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"Further to this, the noise-sensitive nature of the upper floor uses proposed may lead to the complete loss of cocktail bar from the site or adjacent music venue use, in the future."

Customers who have been turning up for late-night cocktails since 2009 are likely to be relieved that the flats proposal has not been permitted.

The club is closed on Sunday and Monday but stays open late on other nights of the week.

The website for The House says: "A buzzing young bar in central Oxford with its own games room, private terrace with Philippe Starck sofas and a seriously well thought out cocktail list.

"The House is an intimate yet lively venue.

Oxford Mail: Serving drinks at The House"The bar has attracted plenty of attention since it opened in early 2009, gracing the pages of Vogue, as a fashion shoot location and featuring in Elle magazine's Top 25 Bars 2010."

The Wheatsheaf nearby is a pub.

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A live music venue upstairs closed in 2021. Before it shut, it hosted some of the biggest bands to have emerged from the city – including Supergrass, Stornoway and Foals, who played their first gig there.

The intimate venue was home to a wide variety of gig nights giving local bands a crucial platform and attracting acts to the city. It also hosted Oxford's only jazz club The Spin.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.