Residents angry about student numbers in East Oxford fear they may be denied their say at a major inquiry into where housing should be built the city.

East Oxford and Headington residents’ associations, representing more than 2,000 households, had submitted a detailed statement setting out their concerns about the impact of large numbers of students on local communities.

In a written statement to a planning inspector, the residents presented evidence that, they say, shows far higher numbers of students are occupying family homes than has been reported.

But residents yesterday claimed that they were being “gagged” after hearing that their submission might not be considered.

And their anger was compounded when it emerged that the submission had been rejected after queries had been raised with the planning inspector’s office by Oxford Brookes University.

The university is said to have questioned whether the issue of student housing fell within the scope of the inquiry.

The submission said evidence obtained from the Higher Education Statistical Agency raised questions about figures submitted to Oxford City Council by Oxford Brookes on where students live in term time.

Planning inspector Stephen Pratt will next week resume the examination in public of Oxford City Council’s core strategy, the planning blueprint for city development over the next two decades An examination in public is held if there are objections to a local authority’s core strategy after it is presented to the Government.

The examination was suspended because of legal challenges to the regional version of the core strategy — the South East Plan — which has since been scrapped by the new Government.

Residents had seen the examination in public as an opportunity to raise the whole issue of the ‘studentification’ of parts of Oxford.

Sietske Boeles, a spokesman for the residents, said: “The new data shows a far higher number of students occupying family houses than reported by Oxford Brookes University.”

George O’Neill, a spokesman for Oxford Brookes University, said: “What is deemed to be within the scope of the resumed hearings and put on the agenda for discussion is ultimately only a decision the planning inspector can make.

“We merely aimed to confirm with the inspector whether the issue of student numbers was likely to come up and, therefore, if it was necessary for us to prepare a submission.”