RESIDENTS avoid Port Meadow now because they can’t bear the sight of student flats in Roger Dudman Way, campaigners have said.

Councillors discussed the findings of an independent review into the development of Castle Mill student flats on the edge of Port Meadow at Oxford City Council’s west area planning committee on Tuesday.

The Oxford University buildings, which were given planning permission by the committee, sparked criticism from campaigners saying they spoiled the views of Oxford from Port Meadow.

The review found a consultation on the plans for the buildings was “inadequate” but cleared the city council of malpractice.

Nicky Moeran, from the Save Port Meadow group, spoke at the meeting at Oxford Town Hall.

She said: “I know lots and lots of people – more than 40 I would say – who can’t bear to go there. It has so changed Port Meadow for people.

“Where you used to look and see Oxford’s spires, now there are eight brightly lit blocks.

“I think the council is quite ashamed by what has happened but we want it and the university to step up to the plate now and put the wrongs right.”

Councillor Jon Goddard said: “I think the review has been a worthwhile exercise. I am now concerned to move on, I am no longer interested in the history.”

A design review panel is being set up in the wake of the review to study planning applications.

Councillor Colin Cook said the panel would not just look at planning applications that come before the council, but offer advice and training to councillors sitting on this committee.

He said: “I look forward to that additional training.”