Port Meadow comes close in Carbuncle Cup

Hulton Park

30th August 2013

The controversial University accommodation blocks at Port Meadow have just been pipped at the post for the Carbuncle Cup, a nationwide prize run by Building Design magazine for the worst development of the year.

The eventual winner was yet another student accommodation disaster – New Hall at UCL in London. (See Building Design website for full info.)

Helen Marshall, Director, CPRE Oxfordshire, said: “We hope both Oxford University and Oxford City Council, which granted the planning permission, are feeling ashamed of themselves for being in such close contention for this award.

“This is one of the most dreadful developments we have ever seen and it is great to know that our opinion is shared by so many people. In fact, these blocks received more nominations than any other project in the eight-year history of the Carbuncle Cup.

“This is not just because of the intrinsic ugliness of the buildings, but also because they are so out of keeping with the beautiful ancient river landscape of Port Meadow and they have destroyed the views of Oxford’s historic skyline.”

It is also worrying to see the trend in student accommodation which Building Design magazine describes as ‘one of the few building types that has continued to be built in large quantity throughout the downturn, and all too frequently to a level of quality that is an insult to the buildings’ inhabitants’.

At New Hall, the Planning Inspector ruled that the usual requirements for light did not need to be met as students were not in their rooms much during the day.   At Port Meadow, the acceptable levels of contamination were also set lower because the accommodation would only be used by students.

CPRE Oxfordshire is seeking a Judicial Review of the planning permission for the University accommodation blocks at Port Meadow on the grounds that an Environmental Impact Assessment should have been carried out. The case will be heard at the High Court in Birmingham on 23 October 2013.

Further info on our Save Port Meadow Appeal