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Student flats going green
STUDENT accommodation in Oxford’s Banbury Road will be refurbished to make it more energy-efficient.
The scheme for Summertown House was approved by councillors, although complaints from residents meant plans for an energy centre to heat the building sustainably were turned down.
The building is used for accommodation for postgraduate students at Oxford University.
Oxford City Council this week gave the university planning permission to refurbish the eastern block, along Banbury Road, which was built in the 1960s.
Summertown House’s modern sections were considered for listing, because of their unusual design, although this did not go ahead.
The energy centre would have sat to the north of the site, alongside Upland Park Road.
One Upland Park Road resident said: “It appears that not much detail is known about the likely noise from the reciprocating engine, fans and generator.
“The emission plumes are also of great concern.”
The university agreed to remove the energy centre from its application and discuss the issue further with residents.
A representative from the university said it could reduce the number of student flats planned and incorporate the energy centre within the eastern block, something city councillors praised it for at the west area planning committee meeting.
Lord Mayor Elise Benjamin said: “I think we should welcome the fact that the university is willing to sacrifice a couple of rooms for this.”
Permission was given for the university to expand the number of rooms at the site by five, though this could be reduced to three to make room for the energy centre. As part of the work the block will be re-clad.
The university will also landscape the grounds and create additional cycle storage.
A spokesman for the university told the meeting: “This proposal has been made necessary by the very poor condition of the block.
“It has got very poor insulation and this will improve it greatly.
“We have worked hard to see how we can resolve the issue of the energy centre.”
The grounds are home to a Grade II* listed building built in the 1830s, but council officers felt the plans would have no impact on its setting.