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University Press ‘exploring options’ on expanding HQ
OXFORD University Press is “exploring its options” over a major expansion of its Jericho HQ.
Last June, OUP was given planning permission to build a new three-storey wing because it said it was running out of space for its staff.
The scheme would involve demolishing the C-wing and two neighbouring houses and replacing them with a carbon-neutral, three-storey, glazed office block.
But the company, which employs more than 1,800 people at its Walton Street base, said it is still considering what to do.
Spokesman Dan Selinger said: “We don’t currently have a timeframe for any development work, but will keep our employees and local residents up to date with our plans.
“We have been working closely with local residents, the Oxford Preservation Trust, and local councillors to ensure that the plans are in keeping with our surroundings, and to minimise any possible impact on local residents.”
The new building would be clad in a combination of limestone, zinc, perforated metal mesh and glass.
OUP chiefs say the new wing will add 20 per cent more office space.
In March, the company said that a major shake-up of its English language teaching department would lead to job losses and last month it revealed 21 posts would be affected.
Paul Hornby, of the Jericho Community Association, urged OUP to look again at solving its space problems.
He said: “We thought the design of the extension was overbearing and not appropriate for a conservation area and the Grade I-listed building.
“Oxford University Press should have a more sympathetically designed extension which will enhance the conservation area.”
Concerns were also raised by English Heritage and the Georgian Group.
The plan includes solar panels on the roof, but English Heritage said they would be discordant.
The Georgian Group objected to the effect of light leaking from the large glazed frontage on to Walton Street after dusk.
The report said: “The group is concerned by the deterioration of the Walton Street part of the Jericho and Walton Manor conservation areas.
“The new Jericho Health Centre and the works to the former Radcliffe Infirmary site have damaged the historical character of this part of Oxford.”
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