CITY councillors have given an East Oxford convent's redevelopment unanimous approval.

The Convent of the Incarnation will now be able to build a two-storey wing to the site in Fairacres Road, off Iffley Road, along with other improvements.

Councillors sitting on the city council’s West Area planning committee were positive about the project.

Other groups, including the Oxford Preservation Society, claimed it is not an attractive plan.

Councillor Mike Gotch said: “I find this a most attractive scheme. I think the way the bungalows have been handled potentially could have been difficult and that’s been done well.”

He later praised the ‘minimal impact’ that the ‘very attractive scheme’ would have on the area.

The plan will involve the demolition of nine buildings, including its Chapter House.

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Colin Cook, the committee’s chairman, asked why car parking spaces would increase from 13 to 14, with developers saying it was part of a rationalisation of where cars currently sit on the site.

He later urged planning officers to clamp down on developers including car parking spaces as the council tries to discourage car use.

He said: “I’m very supportive of this application but for future reference, perhaps officers could make a little more effort in achieving a reduction in car use. You expect it from many other large developments around the city and I hope that could be something we take back to officers for further developments.”

Alex Donnelly, another member of the committee, said he was pleased to see levelling throughout the new development to improve accessibility.

About 25 sisters currently live at the convent.

The new wing will include a new public entrance to the convent, along with publicly accessible areas at the western part of the building and monastic features in the eastern part.

In being granted permission, the convent will need to adhere to a number of conditions.

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They include building at least four new bike parking spaces.

In papers, planning officers state: "The site does not currently include any cycle parking provision and no cycle parking is proposed as part of the application.

"To ensure that the site supports sustainable transport methods, officers consider that cycle parking provision should be provided."

The age of the buildings on the convent site is varied, dating back from the start of the 20th century to as late as the 1990s.

The Old Convent, which includes offices, a library, a common room, an art room, cell bedrooms and storage, was built in the 1900s.

St Mary's and the convent's chapel were built in the 1920s.

The St Raphael's care facility was built in the 1990s and is the newest building there.

The Chapter House, including cell bedrooms, offices and a kitchen, was built in the 1950s.