Ex-conference centre will be student flats

The Oxford Times: The former Cantay House conference centre in Park End Street is being turned into accommodation for students The former Cantay House conference centre in Park End Street is being turned into accommodation for students

DEVELOPERS are turning a city centre building into student flats after a residential scheme was turned down.

Cantay House, the former conference centre in Park End Street, will become 45 flats for students at Corpus Christi College.

Owner Cantay Investments Ltd had wanted to convert the building into nine residential flats.

But Oxford City Council threw the scheme out over the summer, amid claims the number of flats had been kept deliberately low to avoid having to pay a contribution towards affordable housing.

Tony Nolan, of Cantay Investments, said: “We didn’t appeal the decision because on balance we didn’t want to hang around and wait.

“The city council had a chance to approve our plan for residential housing but it was refused and the student housing was approved.”

“When we designed the scheme we felt we wanted to develop high-quality housing in the city centre.

“If you are going to be taxed for exceeding a threshold then you are going to be less inclined to go above that threshold.

“We submitted a viability report suggesting the contribution could not be afforded so we declined to make an offer.”

Council policy dictates that schemes of 10 properties or more are required to make 50 per cent of units available as social housing.

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Developments of four to nine units have to make a financial contribution towards affordable housing – 15 per cent of the sale value of the units.

Student flat developments are exempt from the regulations.

Cantay House was built as a coal merchant’s warehouse in 1901 but was converted into a conference centre and office block in 2007.

The conference centre closed in January because it was losing money.

The plans to turn Cantay House into nine two-bedroom flats were rejected by the city council’s west area planning committee in August.

Work is now under way on the conversion after planning permission was given in January.

The council’s executive member for city development Colin Cook said: “If we see that a site can take 10 units we can refuse planning permission, which we did.

“We are wise to that nonsense, which is why they are probably not appealing.

“Both student housing and residential housing is needed and if we provide housing for students it will free up housing for families.”

Comments (7)

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7:10pm Thu 15 Nov 12

H.J.Harris says...

That will be handy for the nightspots.
That will be handy for the nightspots. H.J.Harris
  • Score: 1

7:19pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

Tony Nolan, of Cantay Investments, said: “We didn’t appeal the decision because on balance we didn’t want to hang around and wait.

“The city council had a chance to approve our plan for residential housing but it was refused and the student housing was approved.”

“When we designed the scheme we felt we wanted to develop high-quality housing in the city centre.

“If you are going to be taxed for exceeding a threshold then you are going to be less inclined to go above that threshold.

“We submitted a viability report suggesting the contribution could not be afforded so we declined to make an offer.”

Ahh isn't that sweet Tony Lad. you wanted to provide flats for the local population, actually no you did not, you wanted to provide flats for the highest (and least needing of homes) earning part of the local population. By the way the number of student flats compared to your residential number either suggests, that you were going to build massive penthouses for the latter, or that the former are going to be "rabbit Hutches" for students, but in reality the reason is that you did not want to build homes for the less well off locals that really need them. Shame on you.
Tony Nolan, of Cantay Investments, said: “We didn’t appeal the decision because on balance we didn’t want to hang around and wait. “The city council had a chance to approve our plan for residential housing but it was refused and the student housing was approved.” “When we designed the scheme we felt we wanted to develop high-quality housing in the city centre. “If you are going to be taxed for exceeding a threshold then you are going to be less inclined to go above that threshold. “We submitted a viability report suggesting the contribution could not be afforded so we declined to make an offer.” Ahh isn't that sweet Tony Lad. you wanted to provide flats for the local population, actually no you did not, you wanted to provide flats for the highest (and least needing of homes) earning part of the local population. By the way the number of student flats compared to your residential number either suggests, that you were going to build massive penthouses for the latter, or that the former are going to be "rabbit Hutches" for students, but in reality the reason is that you did not want to build homes for the less well off locals that really need them. Shame on you. Pavinder Msvarensy
  • Score: -68

9:54pm Thu 15 Nov 12

jamiek says...

I quite agree with Cantay investments the council shouldnt be allowed to blackmail developers into giving them something for nothing!!
I quite agree with Cantay investments the council shouldnt be allowed to blackmail developers into giving them something for nothing!! jamiek
  • Score: 7

10:21pm Thu 15 Nov 12

train passenger says...

That would be a ridiculous place for social housing any way, seeing as it is in a place where many people would gladly pay a fair sum of money to live, including those commuting to London or elsewhere. I doubt many in social housing need to live next to the railway station to commute to their work - that is not a judgment but simply a factual statement. I think the city council's rules are far too rigid and simplistic. But it's true that more dedicated student housing frees up space elsewhere so this outcome might make everybody happy.
That would be a ridiculous place for social housing any way, seeing as it is in a place where many people would gladly pay a fair sum of money to live, including those commuting to London or elsewhere. I doubt many in social housing need to live next to the railway station to commute to their work - that is not a judgment but simply a factual statement. I think the city council's rules are far too rigid and simplistic. But it's true that more dedicated student housing frees up space elsewhere so this outcome might make everybody happy. train passenger
  • Score: 5

12:20pm Fri 16 Nov 12

oafie says...

train passenger...........
......one suspects you have little understanding or are not a long term Oxford resident.

Yet again any space that might offer affordable homes provokes nimbyism but it's ok to continually give accommodation for even more student housing.

What about all the people working in the city centre on crap average salaries or the minimum wage...of course it makes sense to live in the centre...you can walk to work.

Are you one of those commuters that can afford to live in Oxford...but works elsewhere...why don't you move to where your job is?
train passenger........... ......one suspects you have little understanding or are not a long term Oxford resident. Yet again any space that might offer affordable homes provokes nimbyism but it's ok to continually give accommodation for even more student housing. What about all the people working in the city centre on crap average salaries or the minimum wage...of course it makes sense to live in the centre...you can walk to work. Are you one of those commuters that can afford to live in Oxford...but works elsewhere...why don't you move to where your job is? oafie
  • Score: 0

9:25pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Richie24 says...

oafie wrote:
train passenger...........

......one suspects you have little understanding or are not a long term Oxford resident.

Yet again any space that might offer affordable homes provokes nimbyism but it's ok to continually give accommodation for even more student housing.

What about all the people working in the city centre on crap average salaries or the minimum wage...of course it makes sense to live in the centre...you can walk to work.

Are you one of those commuters that can afford to live in Oxford...but works elsewhere...why don't you move to where your job is?
Completely agree with Oafie, clearly Mr Nolan was ducking under the threshold for social housing, bet he would still have made a profit!!! Now we end up with yet more uneccessary student housing. As an Oxford resident born and bred it sickens me whats happening to my city.
[quote][p][bold]oafie[/bold] wrote: train passenger........... ......one suspects you have little understanding or are not a long term Oxford resident. Yet again any space that might offer affordable homes provokes nimbyism but it's ok to continually give accommodation for even more student housing. What about all the people working in the city centre on crap average salaries or the minimum wage...of course it makes sense to live in the centre...you can walk to work. Are you one of those commuters that can afford to live in Oxford...but works elsewhere...why don't you move to where your job is?[/p][/quote]Completely agree with Oafie, clearly Mr Nolan was ducking under the threshold for social housing, bet he would still have made a profit!!! Now we end up with yet more uneccessary student housing. As an Oxford resident born and bred it sickens me whats happening to my city. Richie24
  • Score: 0

9:25pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Richie24 says...

oafie wrote:
train passenger...........

......one suspects you have little understanding or are not a long term Oxford resident.

Yet again any space that might offer affordable homes provokes nimbyism but it's ok to continually give accommodation for even more student housing.

What about all the people working in the city centre on crap average salaries or the minimum wage...of course it makes sense to live in the centre...you can walk to work.

Are you one of those commuters that can afford to live in Oxford...but works elsewhere...why don't you move to where your job is?
Completely agree with Oafie, clearly Mr Nolan was ducking under the threshold for social housing, bet he would still have made a profit!!! Now we end up with yet more uneccessary student housing. As an Oxford resident born and bred it sickens me whats happening to my city.
[quote][p][bold]oafie[/bold] wrote: train passenger........... ......one suspects you have little understanding or are not a long term Oxford resident. Yet again any space that might offer affordable homes provokes nimbyism but it's ok to continually give accommodation for even more student housing. What about all the people working in the city centre on crap average salaries or the minimum wage...of course it makes sense to live in the centre...you can walk to work. Are you one of those commuters that can afford to live in Oxford...but works elsewhere...why don't you move to where your job is?[/p][/quote]Completely agree with Oafie, clearly Mr Nolan was ducking under the threshold for social housing, bet he would still have made a profit!!! Now we end up with yet more uneccessary student housing. As an Oxford resident born and bred it sickens me whats happening to my city. Richie24
  • Score: 0

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