THERE are new faces on the beat in East Oxford and Headington to combat friction between town and gown.

But rather than PCSOs or street wardens, the young people patrolling the Gipsy Lane estate, Cheney Lane area and Divinity Road area are students.

To improve relationships between undergraduates and local residents, Oxford Brookes University has recruited six student community wardens.

Brookes director of corporate affairs Dr Anne Gwinnett said: “In some areas the relationship between students and the local community hasn’t been as positive as it might be.

“We felt having students working in the community would be more effective because they understand the students’ perspective as well as being part of the community themselves.”

The university has ploughed about £10,000 into the pilot scheme, along with recruiting a full-time member of staff to allow community liaison manager Andrea Syret to manage the scheme.

The wardens will patrol in pairs, with each area having at least two two-hour patrols a week at different times of the day and evening.

Advice will be offered to students on issues such as recycling, parking and noise.

Rosie Zehtab Jadio, Richard Seabrook and Elizabeth O’Leary will patrol the Divinity Road area, while Sophie Howell, Nimesh Rajyaguru and Felicity Emmerson are based in Gipsy Lane, with all students visiting Cheney Lane.

Miss O’Leary, 19, who lives in Iffley Road, said: “When there’s a street with a lot of student houses, the students think they own the area and can make noise. They think they’re not causing problems when in actual fact they are.”

Mr Seabrook, 24, from the Cowley Road area, said: “I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to get on together and all enjoy Oxford.”

Mr Rajyaguru said: “Most conflicts come from misunderstandings and can be solved.

“We’ve been knocking on doors, dealing with queries already and making sure residents know we are a presence here.”

The wardens will also attend neighbourhood action group and residents’ association meetings.

Ivon Asquith, from the Divinity Road Area Residents’ Association, said: “We are very pleased Brookes has taken this initiative.

“We welcome the student wardens to our meetings and look forward to working with them.”

About 35 students applied for the roles, which are paid, and the wardens were selected for their understanding of the issues, diplomacy, confidence and passion for the project.

If successful, it is hoped to roll the scheme out in other areas of the city.

  • To contact a warden about issues in the Gipsy Lane, Cheney Lane and Divinity Road areas, email studentcommunitywardens @brookes.ac.uk. For other areas or complaints, email community@brookes.ac.uk