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Prince Charles urged to intervene over Port Meadow

Thursday, 31 January 2013 11:54

A view of Port Meadow A view of Port Meadow Photo: © Jane Tomlinson

Our friends at the Campaign to Protect Port Meadow have today called on supporters to ask the Prince of Wales to intervene about the outrage on Port Meadow when the heir to the throne visits Oxford next week.

The Campaign to Protect Port Meadow from Oxford University has asked its supporters to contact the Prince of Wales to tell him about the unsightly and inappropriate new student accommodation buildings being constructed on the edge of Port Meadow.

Sushila Dhall set up an online petition against the construction is leading efforts to try and get the planning permission revoked by Oxford City Councillors at a special meeting on 7 February. Today she said:

“More than 1700 people have now signed the online petition. In the past month this campaign has rapidly grown and is now actively supported by several thousand local people, due to the unique place that the Port Meadow has for Oxford’s residents, and the truly terrible impact of the buildings under construction by the University.

"Many petitioners have left comments reflecting their growing anger and distress about this vandalism of the view of the city’s famous 'Dreaming Spires' from Oxford's unique and much-loved Port Meadow. In place of this timeless view we now see a long high barracks-like construction rising well above the mature trees around Port Meadow, visible from all over the Meadow as far as Wolvercote, and from the other side of the river.

"The Prince of Wales has for decades highlighted the perils posed by badly designed buildings on the nation’s cherished views and special places. This is a classic instance where something has gone seriously wrong, as a result of which a 1000 year old heritage and unique view of Oxford’s dreaming spires will be lost for ever unless the University lowers the height of the buildings.

"Prince Charles is visiting Oxford on 4 February to open the new Said building for the University. Less than 800 metres away, there is this other development causing unprecedented sadness and anger. We have been calling for many months for the University to halt construction as a gesture of good faith, listen to the criticism, and lower the height of the buildings.

"But they are still building. This is why we have decided to bring the issue to Prince Charles’ attention, and asked him to discuss this with the University’s leadership on his visit next week. We are calling for the heights of these buildings reduced by at least two storeys to restore the timeless beauty of Port Meadow and the view of St Barnabas church tower."

You can sign the online petition here.

Comments on the petition are strongly expressed. Local author Philip Pullman said the buildings were "destructive, ugly, brutal vandalism".

Another commented: "I have lived in Oxford for 37 years and I have witnessed some grotesque planning developments in that time, but this easily tops them all for its sheer brutality to what must be one of the most special places in England. I would like to see criminal prosecutions brought against those responsible for allowing this desecration."

Keep up with the latest information on the campaign website, Facebook and Twitter.

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