A controversial plan to build homes for 35 graduate students in the Bartlemas Conservation Area in East Oxford was refused last night.

The scheme, which came from Oriel College, was recommended for approval by Oxford City Council planning officers — despite objections being received from the Oxford Civic Society, Oxford Preservation Trust and English Heritage Commission.

It would have seen the defunct Bartlemas Nursery, off Cowley Road within the historic hamlet of Bartlemas, knocked down to make way for eight graduate “houses” which would be in two storeys with living accommodation in the roof space.

Members of the council’s east area parliament refused the application on the grounds that insufficient information on drainage matters had been supplied to judge the impact of the development, and that the scale and mass of the development would have an adverse impact on the conservation area and on the setting of listed buildings nearby.