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‘Too tall’ student rooms are rejected
UNIVERSITY bosses have been urged to rethink plans for a major development at St Cross College after its proposals were thrown out.
The city council’s west area planning committee last week refused permission for 53 new student rooms, a lecture theatre, library and seminar rooms at the college in St Giles.
The decision comes after residents, campaign groups and historical societies opposed the design of the new buildings.
Residents who had opposed the development welcomed the councillors’ decision on Tuesday.
St John Street resident Penelope Lenon said: “Many residents felt strongly that the development would not enhance the city centre conservation area so we are pleased with the decision.
“We don’t oppose student accommodation. We just don’t like what they had proposed.” Jericho and Osney councillor Susanna Pressel said the size and scale of the proposals had been unacceptable to many residents.
She said: “I hope they can come back with something that isn’t quite so tall.
“I didn’t object but the residents felt it was too tall and I hope that a compromise can be reached.
“I know the college was very disappointed and its architects were very prestigious.
“People are trying to get as much as possible on to each site and and building things that are too tall.”
The college would not say what it will do next. Spokeswoman Megan Palmer said: “Naturally we are all disappointed.
“However, until we receive the council’s detailed response to our application we are unable to address the specifics.
“When we hear from the council the master will be able to respond more fully.”
The plans attracted objections from Oxford Preservation Trust, the Civic Society and the Victorian Society, which all raised concerns about the design.
Planners at the council favoured approval of the plans.
But councillors decided to listen to objectors at west area planning committee meeting on Tuesday and said no.
The college now faces three options. It can appeal against the decision, submit amended plans to the council or abandon the scheme altogether.
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