Why this site is needed for Student Accommodation

As with every University city, Oxford has its challenges in the provision of sufficient housing for the local population and for students.

Oxford Brookes is in particular need of additional purpose-built student accommodation. It has been working with Unite Students to establish a long-term relationship for the site.

This is because purpose built, managed halls is a preferred option for Oxford Brookes as it helps meet their increasing demand for student accommodation while relieving pressure on local housing needs.

It is a well-publicised fact that Oxford is one of the most expensive housing areas in the UK. High house prices and escalating rents are the barometers of a general housing shortage.

Oxford City Council is all too well aware of this problem and its current Core Strategy Policy CS25 supports the supply of additional purpose-built student accommodation.

Within Oxford, there is a real scarcity of affordable housing, so much so that thousands of residents can only afford to rent a single room, sharing a kitchen and bathroom with other tenants. These are in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Many second and third year students live in HMOs in Lye Valley ward, which includes Cowley Barracks There are over 20 roads in the Lye Valley ward where there are HMOs. Bulan Road has 99 residents living in HMOs and Dene Road has 87 occupants of HMOs. This often puts pressure on parking in local roads.

These are the facts on HMOs:

  • Current numbers (August 2017) on the city council’s web site show Oxford has 2,720 HMOs with 13,449 occupants;
  • In July 2016, these figures were 1,950 and 9,500 respectively; +
  • In November 2015, the figures were 1,831 and 8,807 occupants; +
  • In 2011 only 8% of houses in Oxford were HMOs with 60% of such HMOs being occupied by students. *

In Canterbury, last year the vice chairman of the planning committee supported more purpose-built student accommodation, saying that for every 500 student rooms provided it meant that there would be around 100 fewer HMOs required.

As the figures above reveal, there is high demand for single rooms in HMOs and student rooms at Cowley Barracks have the propensity to free this type of housing up for local people.
+ Revealed in a Freedom of Information Act request.
*Taken from the web site of Headington.org

Click here to read the letter sent to Oxford City Council’s planning team from Sue Holmes, Director of Estates and Facilities Management at Oxford Brookes University, which explains how important this site is to its plans to increase student rooms by 1,500 over the next five years. Oxford Brookes University is therefore in full support to the application.