North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Area

We are fairly critical of the City’s consultants’ appraisal report.

1 May 2017

Archetypical Suburban North Oxford
Archetypical Suburban North Oxford
photo: Oxford City Council

Conservation Areas are designated by local planning authorities. They are areas of special architectural or historic interest whose character and appearance is worth preserving or enhancing.

Their special character can come from the buildings and open spaces, the historic layout of roads, paths and boundaries, characteristic materials, and trees and vegetation. Conservation areas enjoy more protection than individual listed buildings and in conservation areas buildings cannot be demolished without specific planning consent.

From time to time local authorities must assess their whole area and consider whether more areas should be designated as conservation areas, and whether existing ones are still appropriate.

Oxford currently has 18 Conservation Areas and the City Council has been appraising some of these – most recently the North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Area. There has been a public consultation on the draft report (read it here) of the appraisal and our Planning Group has submitted a response which you can read here.

We are fairly critical of the City’s consultants’ appraisal report. We feel it repeats the history of how the area developed, which is available elsewhere, without giving the real ‘feel’ for the area as people know it now. The appraisal also seems to overlook specific important elements, such as the Woodstock Road and important more modern buildings like Wolfson College and other buildings in St Anne’s, St Hugh’s and St Antony’s colleges.  Our verdict: ‘could do better’.

We hope the City Council will take our constructive criticisms on board as they prepare the final version of the appraisal report.

2 thoughts on “North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Area”

  1. I could not find the City’s Appraisal Report. I think it is important to mention how important the trees and shrubs are in front gardens in particular in the Conservation Area.
    Individually listed houses are still important of course.

  2. Dear Ann
    There’s a link to the City’s appraisal report in the article above, but here it is again:
    https://consultation.oxford.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/794306/25367749.1/PDF/-/North_Oxford_Victorian_Suburb_Conservation_Area_Appraisal_draft.pdf
    You might need to copy this link into your browser’s address bar if this comment won’t accept a link. The same link in the article does work though; it probably puts the report in your downloads.
    I’ll make sure out Planning Group sees your thoughts about the greenery in gardens.
    Thanks for getting in touch.

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