After a lengthy campaign by CPRE and the Save Port Meadow Campaign group, the University was forced into a retrospective Environmental Statement assessing the significant harm these buildings had caused to Port Meadow, our much-loved green space stretching into the heart of Oxford.
Eventually the University made a Unilateral Undertaking to bring forward design mitigation for the buildings. It has now done this and you can see its proposals, contained within a planning application, online via the Oxford City Council website here (Planning Ref: 17/00250/FUL)
The application covers: 'Alterations for the continued use of the buildings as student accommodation comprising: External alterations to elevations and roofs of the existing buildings; tree planting (including containers and supporting structures); alterations to, and landscaping of the courtyards; new cycle stores; alterations to existing lighting; and the formation of pedestrian pathways on the east side of Blocks 5 and 8 and the three gatehouses.'
Sadly, only removing a floor or two off the top of the blocks would really address the harm caused, but this is not on offer. Nonetheless, you might like to take a look and see if you think the University is doing all it possibly can within the limitations it has set.
Comments on the application can be made in writing to the Council at Planning Department, 109-113 St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DS
or via the website www.oxford.gov.uk/planning
Deadline for comments is 15 March 2017.
Find out more about the history of the Port Meadow campaign here.