2 Savile Road Oxford OX1 3UA
27 January 2018
Proposed demolition of Warham House, New College School hall and partial demolition of Savile House rear extension. Erection of three new buildings and reconstruction of Savile House rear extension to provide C2 residential college including Music Hall, assembly, academic and study space, Porter’s Lodge and associated accommodation, and replacement D1 facilities for New College School including dining hall, assembly space and class rooms.
Members of Oxford Civic Society have been consulted in pre-application meetings during the development of this project. We have been impressed by the rigorous approach which has been adopted to making the best use of the site with due regard to its wider context, and meeting the needs of the School and the College, while keeping these two very different users quite separate.
The design is a welcome and refreshing departure from the dominant rectangular styles currently fashionable in major projects being undertaken by the colleges and the University of Oxford. Consideration of the Tower should be seen in the context of the new, more sophisticated, approach to views being developed currently in consultation with stakeholders as part of the preparation of new Local Plan policies. This departs from a slavish consideration of the “Carfax height limit” and the ten view cones. We think that the Tower is suitable for its location and purpose and will become accepted as a significant modern contribution to the cityscape.
During the pre-application meetings we were reassured about the effects of the new buildings on neighbouring Mansfield College but we note that members of the latter have expressed some concern which about proximity and overlooking. These need to be addressed.
We share the views of Historic England, in response to the pre-application consultation, who wrote: “What is now proposed is certainly a very unusual building, quite unlike anything currently in Oxford, but we are convinced that the architectural concept is very good. If the materials used, the detailing and execution of the project are up to the standards currently envisaged this would be an innovative, playful and beautiful building which would bring joy to all those who experienced it and enhance the architectural riches of the City.”.