164 Cowley Road Oxford OX4 1UE

19 May 2020

Change of use of first floor from office (Use Class B1) to student accommodation (Sui Generis). Insertion of 1no. door to rear elevation. Provision of bin and bicycle stores.

The recently approved major development at 159-161 Cowley Road (19/01821 which will provide 137 student units) directly opposite number 164 puts into question the viability of this proposal. Aside from a question of the potential saturation of student accommodation in the area, this application squeezes 7 units onto the first floor of the building.  The rooms/units are small (a mix of 11.5 and 14 sq m) and only two of these have external windows; the others have ventilation roof lights.  The communal area at the rear of the building is small for 7 people;  we suggest the applicant might consider reducing the number of units in order to enlarge this space.

The application states this will be a car-free development but this will be difficult to control/oversee as the rear of the property, where the entrance to the accommodation is located alongside the proposed cycles and bin storage,  is a car park serving a number of the properties adjacent to and including no. 164. Currently there is unrestricted access. What plans do the developers have for controlling this?

The location of this proposal is not conducive to quiet study with the Bullingdon (a well known music venue) next door and The Cowley Retreat (bar and music venue) at number 172. The installation of effective sound-proofing must be included in this application, this is alluded to briefly in the DAS but must be clarified as to be adequate for the location before any decision on planning is given.