There were three key issues raised during the community engagement which took place from November to December 2020:
1. Why are we proposing the development?
The development of the existing student accommodation site, located on University land close to Marston Road in East Oxford, is recognised in the Oxford Local Plan 2036. The city’s plan recognises that “accommodating university students in purpose-built halls and other university-provided accommodation can help to reduce the demand from students on the general housing stock.” It is also necessary for Oxford Brookes to modernise many of the existing buildings on the site and to upgrade student facilities to reflect changing student needs.
2. What are our intentions on student numbers?
In developing plans, we have identified the need to accommodate around 560 to 600 more students on our existing Clive Booth Student Village site. Although overall student numbers at Oxford Brookes have remained static in recent years, and the University does not plan to significantly increase its student numbers, the demand for accommodation in Oxford has increased due to a changing student profile. The provision of new accommodation on our existing land is important in our commitment to meeting the council’s threshold for students living in the community and in replacing older rooms. The National Student Accommodation Survey (2021) from UCAS indicates a general demand for more students to be living in university accommodation.
3. How will the development affect the Conservation Area?
The current Clive Booth Student Village is located in the Headington Hill Conservation Area. This means that there are clear limits on any developments to protect specified historic and architectural aspects. The historic Headington Hill Hall (part of the University) and the natural space of Headington Hill Park - which are important parts of the designated Conservation Areas - are both unaffected by our plans aside from additional work we are hoping to take to improve access routes for the community.
Our plan will redevelop land where student accommodation and other buildings already exist. We fully understand that we need to preserve the natural characteristics of the site and the views across towards the city centre that are also an important feature of the area. We are working with specialist landscape architects to ensure we reflect the nature of the Conservation Area in our designs.
After carefully considering all of the feedback gained in November and December 2020, we have revised our initial plans which you can now see in more detail via this PDF document.
Further information on the latest proposed changes made following community feedback can also be found on this webpage.
We are now inviting questions and comments on the specific designs. These can be sent to us via our online form until Friday 5 February 2021, or through attendance at one of our webinars which you can register for on this webpage.