Oxford

Oxford councillor brands student complaints 'offensive'

Complaints about students in Oxford have been compared to racism, sexism and homophobia by Liberal Democrat city councillor Tony Brett.

He spoke out after he received complaints from residents about a planning application to create 26 student rooms in Union Street, Oxford.

Mr Brett said that one person said the community was "being destroyed and controlled" by students.

He said many of the comments were "full of gross generalisations".

'Frankly offensive'

Mr Brett, councillor for Carfax Ward, a predominantly student area, said other comments he had received described students as "using offensive language in every sentence that leaves their mouths".

He said the remarks sounded "horribly like the racism of the 60s, the homophobia of the 80s and the sexism of the 70s" and that he found them "frankly offensive".

Ed Chipperfield, chairman of the James Street Residents Association, said: "The main thing is not to label anyone anti-student and [the comments are] certainly not comparable to racism, or sexism or homophobia."

He added: "I'm glad that problems have at least been identified and are out in the open."

'Don't belong here'

Sietske Boeles is involved with the residents association in the Divinity Road area of the city.

She said: "In these parts of Oxford students are in a majority. Some students say [to residents], 'move away, this is a student area - you don't belong here any more'."

Daniel Stone, vice president of charities and communities for the University of Oxford Students' Union, said in a statement: "Those students who do step over the line are in a small minority and it's a shame that they take the attention away from the huge numbers of students who volunteer in local schools and raise money for local charities."

The planning application by John Philips Planning Consultancy involves demolishing a former school canteen and erecting 26 en-suite student rooms with shared facilities.

There are also plans for two parking spaces for disabled students, 26 covered cycle spaces and a bin store.

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