Student housing in Between Towns Road

OCS has serious concerns about this planning application

1 November 2019

Planning application number 19/02620/FUL is for the demolition of no’s 17 and 17b Between Towns Road and Cowley Conservative Club, and the erection of a three-, four- and five-storey building incorporating 221 student study rooms, indoor and outdoor communal space, bin and bicycle storage.

We share the concerns of others regarding the provision of yet more student housing, especially as this proposed development is speculative rather than being sponsored by one of the universities or colleges. We regret that the opportunity has not been taken to deliver attractive affordable homes in this eminently suitable location. However, we acknowledge that the proposal accords with policy on locations for student housing.

The proposed development fails to take account of the impact on the residents of Coleridge Close (St Luke’s Road residents are somewhat further away); we would have hoped for more creative measures to lessen this impact. We are also disappointed by the unimaginative generic design of the proposals, which could have contributed more to the enhancement of the local street scene. Given the current unprepossessing nature of Between Towns Road it is disappointing also that the landscaping proposals are assessed as having only a ‘minor/moderate’ positive impact immediately, and only ‘moderate’ after 10 years.

It is highly unlikely that a no-car policy can be enforced on residents of this development. We therefore consider that any consent must be conditional upon the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone for the entire area before occupation, and that  residents should not be eligible for on-street parking. Otherwise parking problems will get worse and more traffic will be generated.

We would urge that these issues be acknowledged and addressed either by planning condition or by refusal of consent until satisfactory changes have been made.