Frontier Estates - activities in Oxford
Frontier Estates are the developers of the Beech House student accommodation on London Road/Latimer Road, Headington, Oxford (details in the marketing brochure). Planning consent (15/00858/FUL) was given on 15 April 2016 and the development was completed for the start of the 2017-18 Brookes academic year.
Local residents were strongly opposed to this 5-storey development, which required the demolition of four homes on the corner of London Road and London Road. A considerable amount of accommodation for Oxford Brookes students had already been built in the area. Dr Gareth Jones, a GP who lives in Latimer Road, said: “It will change the whole feel of the road – we don’t want to find ourselves becoming a Brookes campus” See Oxford Mail article
15 November 2015.
Already 24% of Oxford's adult residents are students (average of 55 UK cities is 9%).
From Oxford City Council Key Facts Profile 2016:
"Students as % of adult population: 24%, Rank (of 55 cities) 1, Average % of those 55 cities: 9%"
Plans for yet more student accommodation
Frontier Estates are also interested in acquiring for demolition and subsequent development of student accommodation
- guest houses on the north side of London Road, Headington
- houses on Marston Road, Lynne Close and the corner of Jack Straw's Lane/Marston Road. As at 6 June 2017, a planning application was expected within 3 to 6 months, with a public exhibition of plans prior to submission of the application.
- houses on Barton Road, Headington.
Oxford - Headington & Marston Neighbourhood Forum These include comments from Cllrs Mary Clarkson (Marston Ward, Oxford City Council) and Cllr Ruth Wilkinson (Headington Ward), who is on the City Council's Planning Committee.
Cllr Clarkson's comment includes the observation:
"Years ago, councillors were generally sympathetic to the building of student
accommodation for Brookes as we thought that it would free up more houses as
This clearly isn't working. The Local Plan adopted in 2005 sets a maximum of
3000 Brookes students living in the community. Yet between 2004/5 and 2010/11
there was a net increase of 650 Brookes students living in the community, with
only an extra 310 units of accommodation being completed. Even if we take into
account the units completed between 2010 and the present day, Brookes will
still have failed to meet its 3000 target. I know that I'm not the only City
councillor who has growing reservations about this policy. We are about to
consult on the new Local Plan and it's important that this issue is raised and
questions asked. I will certainly be doing so as a councillor and I hope that
many members of the public will do so too"
Cllr Wilkinson says:
"This local councillor is also following events closely and am on the
This follows other propositions for land purchase further down London Road In
Headington Ward. Currently the Local Plan favours the siting of student accommodation in
district centres and on specified roads, one of which is London Rd.
There will be a public consultation on options for a revised Local Plan over the summer.
I have requested that an option should be to limit the number of
student accommodation blocks within a given area, rather like HMO restrictions
now, because of the impact on communities. Let's wait and see if this gets
included as an option.
[Info added here re Ruth's comment: the draft preferred options for the Local Plan 2036 will be considered by the Scrutiny Committee on Monday 12 June 2017. Oxford City Council's website
page for the Local Plan has a link to 'Local Plan Preferred Options', which takes you to the Agenda for the meeting. Documents relating to the Preferred Options can be found under Item 6 of that Agenda. Note the comment in the Preferred Options document: 'The City Council is committed to supporting the sustainable growth of the two universities and to maximising the related economic, social and cultural benefits to the city'.
Ruth's comment continues:
Regarding this latest news, let's wait and see the plans. The idea of building
student accommodation is to free up rented property for non-students, and we
have lots of young professionals, NHS and social care workers and others
desperate to find somewhere affordable to live in Headington.
At some point, the City Council needs to come up with a way to decide what the
best use of available land is in any area given local economic factors. The
possible use of land for building residential apartments needs to be considered
as well as student accommodation in Headington"
A resident's comment: "Unless I missed it, I think the new Headington Plan is silent on the matter of demolishing existing homes to build speculative student accommodation. Did we
miss a trick, or was any policy ruled out on technical grounds?